Phony New York Lawyer Defrauds Prisoners, Sent to Prison
by Ed Lyon
Antonia Barrone of Albany, New York posed as an attorney from September 2012 to April 2017. She went by various male aliases, including Mario Vrendenburg, Antonio Barrone, Mario Stacchini, Mario Helems and Mark Vredenburg, and primarily targeted prisoners seeking legal representation for parole denials.
She defrauded over 400 people in ten counties and received over $23,000 in fees doing business through the New York State Prisoner Assistance Center (aka NY Parole Aids) and Stacchini & Barrone, a fictional law firm operated from her home.
New York’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has been reviewing each of Barrone’s prisoner victims “on a case-by-case basis,” yet spokesman Pat Bailey said none of the prisoners represented by Barrone were granted parole. The number of parole denial appeals she filed was not disclosed.
Barrone was involved in a police chase on Interstate 787 in 2016, achieving speeds over 100 mph. Attempting to exit the highway, she hit another vehicle and a utility pole.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a civil suit against Barrone over her false representation that she was an attorney and her unauthorized practice of law. In August 2017, a judgment was entered against her for $23,472.70 in restitution plus $244,500 in fines.
The Attorney General’s Criminal Division then prosecuted Barrone, resulting in her arrest and arraignment on October 16, 2017. She was charged with seven “D” and three “E” felonies for various penal code violations, and ultimately pled guilty to one “E” felony count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree.
The punishment assessed for that conviction was 1½ to three years in prison. Barrone was then sentenced to up to four years for the 2016 police chase and car crash; both sentences were imposed on November 16, 2017 in different courts, and ordered to run consecutively.
It is not known whether Barrone has, or can raise, the funds to pay the civil judgments. Presumably she now needs a good lawyer – a real one, that is.
Sources: www.law.com, www.newyorkupstate.com, www.ag.ny.gov