By Naeisha Rose
Franklin Marone, a former stockbroker from Douglaston, was sent back to prison last week after a failed attempt to avoid restitution payments to victims of his securities fraud scheme and stealing from loved ones, including his elderly mother, according to state Attorney General Barbara Underwood.
Once he was released from prison in 2010 after serving six years in prison for defrauding $5.4 million from 29 members of the Windham Ski Patrol whom he worked with part-time at a mountain resort in the Catskills, Marone would go on to commit grand larceny and scheme to defraud $360,000 in January 2014 to September 2017 from a military veteran, an ex-girlfriend, a family friend, and his 89-year-old mother in Queens and L.I., according to Underwood’s office.
“After previously being convicted of fraud, the defendant has shown zero remorse for his victims and a complete disregard for the law,” said Underwood.
In early 2014, Marone started missing court-ordered restitution payments, according to Rachel Shippee, a spokeswoman at the AG’s office, and instead of paying back the remaining $1.2 million to the ski patrollers, he claimed he had no assets and minimal income, and took money from loved ones in order to live a lavish lifestyle.
In one instance, between May and June 2016, Marone impersonated his mother while speaking to a representative of a financial institution in an attempt to steal $50,000 from her, according to the AG’s office. He did manage steal $45,000 from an ex-girlfriend and family friend, prosecutors said.
While he claimed to have no money in affidavits, he received over $55,000 in checks payable to himself, spent $64,000 in Jeep Wrangler upgrades, $18,000 for a gym and spa membership, pawned $9,000 in property and spent $4,000 on a cruise, according to the AG’s office.
The New York State Police Financial Crimes Unit discovered that Marone only paid $15,000 towards restitution from 2013 to 2017, based on evidence presented at his restitution hearing.
“This individual stole millions from his victims, including his own mother, and showed no remorse throughout,” said New York State Police Superintendent George Beach II.
On July 12, Marone pleaded guilty to grand larceny and scheme to defraud before Queens Criminal Court Judge Barry Kron. He was sentenced to a total of two to four years, and entered confessions of judgment agreement, which means he acknowledged that he owed money to the L.I. and Queens victims and they are allowed to attach a lien on his possessions now or in the future, according to Shippee.
As for the original fraud scheme, Marone had befriended the ski patrollers while working with them and convinced them to invest in a fictitious equity fund that he dubbed the Patrollers Capital Fund, according to the AG’s office.
To continue the ruse, he created fraudulent stock certificates, prepared phony account statements, and sent emails with phony statements and funds’ performance information, the AG said. In actuality, the money was deposited directly to his personal bank account.
On June 22, 2004 he entered a guilty plea to two counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud, and was sentenced Sept. 14, 2004. As part of his plea deal, he was supposed to repay the victims.
In July and August 2017, he filed two affidavits to Greene County saying that he did not have the funds to pay back the victims, but after the discovery of his lies by state police, he was resentenced on June 22, 2018 for his original crimes because he willfully evaded paying restitution, and on July 17, Underwood announced he will also serve time for perjury and the fraudulent financial disclosures.
Marone’s combined sentence is upwards of 8 1/2 to 29 years in state prison.
“No matter how covert or complex the scheme, my office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to root out fraud and protect New Yorkers from financial exploitation.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose