LANSING (WWJ) – A Fenton man is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from Livingston County residents who were facing mortgage foreclosure.
Lawrence Adell Sefa, 54, was arraigned Tuesday on 15 felony charges, including conducting a criminal enterprise, and 15 misdemeanor charges. He was released after posting a $25,000 bond and is due back in court for a probable cause hearing on Nov. 29.
The state Attorney General’s Homeowner Protection Unit started investigating Sefa after receiving multiple complaints that his company LAS, Loan Assistance Centers, took money from clients up front for mortgage assistance or debt settlement but allegedly never provided the services. The government says Sefa and LAS allegedly guaranteed specific outcomes, such as lower monthly mortgage payments, which is impossible to do.
Following an investigation, it was determined a large portion of Sefa’s clients, in addition to those who already filed complaints, allegedly did not receive the promised services from Sefa or LAS.
Sefa also allegedly withheld his clients’ personal financial documents when asked to return them.
“These type of scam artists continue to take advantage of Michigan residents during an extremely vulnerable time in their lives, and we continue to hold them accountable for their actions,” Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement. “I hope this serves as warning to others that we will continue to do what we can to protect Michigan residents.”
Sefa is charged with:
• One count of conducting a criminal rnterprise, a felony punishable by up to twenty years in prison
• One count of false pretenses $20,000 or more but less than $50,000, a felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison
• 13 counts of false pretenses $1,000 or more but less than $20,000, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison
• 15 counts of credit services protection act violations, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail
Sefa is prohibited from conducting business relating to credit services or mortgage services and cannot contact victims while the criminal proceedings are ongoing.