Super Mario just bought a super mansion from a super swindler.
Mario J. Williams, the $100 million defensive end signed by the Buffalo Bills in March, paid $2 million to buy the lavish Aurora home of a disgraced and jailed attorney, who was convicted last year of swindling clients out of millions of dollars.
Williams, whose six-year contract set a record for an NFL defensive player, bought the five-bedroom mansion at 5 Woodcrest Drive from Kenneth P. and Michaelene M. Bernas, according to documents filed in the Erie County Clerk's Office.
Williams could not be reached to comment.
Kenneth Bernas, a former personal injury attorney, put the home up for sale after he was convicted of swindling 53 clients out of $3.1 million. According to prosecutors, he took out "pre-settlement" loans in his clients' names while their cases were pending, then had the loan agencies send him the money. He also forged his clients' names on settlement checks.
The conviction followed a nine-month investigation by the Erie County District Attorney's Office. Bernas originally pleaded guilty in September 2010 to swindling 33 clients, but more victims came forward, and he admitted to stealing from 20 more clients in January 2011.
He faced up to 50 years in prison but was sentenced in February 2011 to 2 1/3 to 7 years behind bars and was ordered to pay back $1.78 million.
Williams, who spent the last six years playing for the Houston Texans, is considered the most talented pass rusher the Bills have had in more than a decade. His signing caused an immense buzz in Western New York. He and his fiancee spent an afternoon driving around the area, looking at neighborhoods where they might want to live.
The lavish 9,389-square-foot stone home, with 6 1/2 bathrooms, features limestone, marble and cherry hardwood floors, detailed architectural touches and expensive mill work.
Built by Bernas in 2005, the two-story house includes a weight room, two laundry rooms, enormous walk-in closets, a bathroom with a whirlpool and white Greek columns, a spiral central staircase, fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling windows, a big modern kitchen, a two-floor library and study, and a four-car garage. The home is set on 10.2 acres.
"This elegant and extraordinary all-stone mansion has workmanship, architectural detail, materials that one might have found in another era," said an online real estate listing. "No expense was spared, and this home must be seen to appreciate the thought and care that was put throughout."