Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Convicted Loan Modification Scammer Back In Hot Water; State AG: Suspect Committed I.D. Theft In Effort To Hide Assets That Could Be Used To Pay $348K In Restitution In Connection With Earlier Escapades That Ripped Off Financially Struggling Homeowners

From the Office of the Michigan Attorney General:
  • Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced he has filed four felony charges against Steven Barry Ruza, 54, of Shelby Township.

    The charges stem from allegations that Ruza committed identity theft in an effort to hide assets that could be used for restitution to the department. Ruza owes $348,025.50 in restitution to the Department of Attorney General’s Foreclosure Rescue Scam Victim Restitution Fund from his previous conviction of conducting a criminal enterprise for running a bogus mortgage scheme.

    “This individual shows a clear disregard for the law. Less than one year after admitting guilt in a scheme that scammed many, out of not only their money but their homes, he is allegedly breaking the law once again in order to avoid his legal obligations,” said Schuette.

    The charges filed against him are as follows:
  • One count of Perjury, a 15-year felony;
  • One count of False Statement in Application for Certificate Title, a 10-year felony;
  • One count of False Certification – Driver’s License, a five year felony;
  • One count of Identity theft, a five-year felony.
  • Ruza was arraigned before Magistrate Mark Blumer in the 55th District Court in Ingham County on Thursday, July 27. Bond was set at $150,000 cash/surety. As a condition of bond, Ruza was ordered to turn over all driver's licenses and passports in his name or any other name. His next court date is scheduled for August 3, 2017.

    Ruza was previously sentenced to one year in county jail in 2015 and was released on September 12, 2016. He is currently serving five years probation for his previous conviction.

    Case Background

    In 2015, Ruza and his business were charged with multiple felonies for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his clients who were facing mortgage foreclosures and seeking assistance. He pleaded guilty to Conducting a Criminal Enterprise in 2015 and was sentenced to one year in county jail, five years’ probation, and ordered to pay $610,000 in restitution. $250,000 was paid to the victims and the other $360,000 was owed to the State of Michigan. Ruza’s victims were repaid at the time of Ruza’s guilty plea through Michigan’s Foreclosure Rescue Scam Victim Restitution Fund, meaning the restitution he owes must now be paid back to the state.

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