Nassau police on Tuesday arrested a Bronx man and charged him with grand larceny and impersonating an attorney after, they said, he carried out a scheme that bilked two Nassau residents out of thousands of dollars in bogus legal fees.
Mario Tolisano, 65, was being held on $10,000 cash or $10,000 bond after he was arraigned in First District Court in Hempstead on charges of third and fourth-degree grand larceny and unlicensed practice as an attorney, according to officials and court records.
He was arrested at Rikers Island, where he was being detained on an unrelated charge, and is due back in court on Thursday.
He is likely to plead guilty to the top charge at that hearing, said his attorney, Dawn Florio of Manhattan.
Acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said Tolisano presented himself as an attorney and told Nassau residents that he could perform loan modifications for them in January 2012 and September 2013, but never delivered the services and pocketed the cash.
"Phony attorneys not only deprive their victims of proper legal representation, they can steal money, securities and even victims' homes," Singas said in a statement.
Singas said a New Hyde Park woman paid Tolisano $3,000 in January 2012 for legal services, and gave him another $20,000 in June 2013 so he could pay her real estate taxes. But the victim discovered in January 2014 that her taxes were not paid by Tolisano, but by the loan company that bought her mortgage, Singas said.
A Valley Stream woman paid $2,500 to Tolisano in September 2013 for legal assistance, but was informed in March 2014 by her bank that Tolisano never approached the institution about her loan modification, Singas said.