Monday, February 27, 2017

Disbarred For Role In Ripping Off Financially Strapped Homeowners In $44 Million Loan Modification Racket, Ex-Attorney Cops Plea, Gets Seven Years In State Pen

From the Office of the San Bernardino County, California District Attorney:
  • A former attorney in Westminster has pleaded guilty to grand theft and money laundering for his role in a $44 million loan modification scam.

    Stephen Lyster Siringoringo, 35, of Westminster, pleaded no contest Wednesday [February 22] to 3 counts of Grand Theft and Money Laundering, and admitted an aggravated White Collar enhancement for taking over $100,000.00 by fraud or deceit which requires a commitment to the California state prison.

    The court ordered Siringoringo to pay $108,000 in restitution, which is the total amount connected to victims residing in San Bernardino County. Siringoringo was also sentenced to 7 years in state prison. In Jan. 2017, the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau obtained a judgment of restitution for victims outside of the county in the amount of $20,825,000.(1)

    The conviction was the culmination of a lengthy investigation by members of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office—Bureau of Investigation’s Real Estate Fraud Unit.

    Siringoringo advertised loan modification services across Southern California via radio and television advertisements and targeted lower income and/or Spanish-speaking people within San Bernardino County.

    According DDA Welch, the victims reached out to Siringoringo’s law office because they were led to believe he would help them to lower their house payments, thereby preventing foreclosure.

    Siringoringo, along with co-defendants Joshua Cobb and Alfred Clausen, collected millions of dollars from hundreds of victims while rarely delivering on their promises.

    Siringoringo, in particular, preyed on the victims by using his position as an attorney to gain their trust and charge large unlawful upfront fees and monthly payments. Most of the victims never received any loan modification, and many who had lost their money with Siringoringo, Cobb and Clausen sought assistance through other means.

    Siringoringo was disbarred by the California State Bar as a result of hundreds of complaints. Disbarment occurred prior to the involvement of the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office.

    Cobb pled guilty to similar charges last year. He was ordered to pay restitution and is serving a 5-year sentence.

    Alfred Orn Clausen (pictured here) remains a fugitive at large and is believed to have fled to Iceland. Any information regarding his current whereabouts can be forwarded to Sr. Inv. John Vega at 909-382-7750 or via email at realestate@sbcda.org.
Source: Former attorney pleads no contest in multi-million-dollar loan modification scheme.
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(1) The California State Bar's Client Security Fund is a public service of the California legal profession, intended to help protect consumers of legal services by alleviating losses resulting from the dishonest conduct of attorneys. The amount the fund may reimburse for theft committed by a California lawyer depends on when the loss occurred. A maximum of $50,000 is reimbursable if the loss occurred before January 1, 2009. A maximum of $100,000 is reimbursable if the loss occurred on or after January 1, 2009.

For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that sometimes help cover the financial mess created by the dishonest conduct of lawyers licensed in other states and Canada, see:
Maps available courtesy of The National Client Protection Organization, Inc.

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