ALBANY, N.Y. – Officials say a 48-year-old woman has admitted to passing herself off as a lawyer while bilking hundreds of New York prison inmates out of more than $20,000.
The state Attorney General's Office says Antonia Barrone pleaded guilty to a scheme to defraud and will serve 16 months to 3 years in state prison. She has also been ordered to pay nearly $270,000 in restitution and fines.
Officials say Barrone created a fake persona as a parole attorney named Mario Vredenburg and swindled $23,000 from 400 state inmates and their families through a business called the NYS Prisoner Assistance Center, which purported to specialize in parole cases.
Authorities say Barrone tricked customers into believing the office was staffed with attorneys.
Last year, Barrone crashed her car at 90 mph while trying to elude police on an Albany highway.