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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A northern New Jersey man and his nonprofit legal services organization have been ordered to pay $2.2 million for misleading prison inmates and their families into paying hundreds of dollars for legal services that weren’t provided.

Bruce Buccolo and The Project Freedom Fund are also barred from offering legal services in New Jersey, under the order issued recently by a state judge. The ruling was made public Tuesday by the state Attorney General’s Office.

Authorities say Buccolo and the organization charged inmates and their families a $350 consulting fee for legal services but rarely provided them with legal representation. When they did, it was performed by a disbarred attorney or Buccolo, who is not an attorney.

Buccolo couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday. He has previously denied the state’s allegations.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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