ALBANY — The state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has been reviewing parole appeals handled by an Albany resident who was convicted for fraudulently posing as a lawyer.
Last week, Antonia Barrone — who is not a licensed attorney — was sentenced to one-and-a-half to three years in state prison on criminal charges for fraudulently charging clients thousands of dollars for unauthorized legal services, and for forging signatures on legal documents.
Earlier this month, Barrone pleaded guilty to defrauding more than 400 people, including prison inmates, and to operating a fake law firm that offered a variety of legal services. Barrone operated the New York State Prisoner Assistance Center, which over the course of five years bilked hundreds of people, including prison inmates and their families, by promising to handle administrative parole appeals from inmates denied parole by DOCCS.
In some instances, Barrone accepted fees for legal work but did not perform any services, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office. Prosecutors claim that Barrone and the entities she operated had clients throughout the state, including Albany, Cayuga, Clinton, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schoharie, Suffolk, Ulster, Warren and Westchester counties.
The attorney general’s office told the New York Law Journal that DOCCS “has been addressing each inmate on a case-by-case basis.”
A DOCCS spokesman said parole appeals handled by Barrone and her fraudulent law firm have been reviewed again by the agency. Spokesman Pat Bailey told the New York Law Journal on Wednesday that none of the appeals that were handled by Barrone and were reviewed by the department was approved for parole. He did not immediately say how many appeals that Barrone handled were reviewed by the agency.
Barrone, who was arrested last month, was also hit with a civil suit in August by Schneiderman’s office. Barrone and the NYS Prisoner Assistance Center were ordered to pay $244,500 to the state and $23,427 to customers who paid for her legal services.