On Aug. 2, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced a Livingston County man who stole tens of thousands of dollars from more than 30 Michigan residents using a fake mortgage assistance scheme has paid $116,615 in restitution and was sentenced to one year in county jail by Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Miriam Cavanaugh.
Lawrence Sefa, 65, of Tyrone Township, pleaded guilty to one count of conducting a criminal enterprise and received a delayed sentence under a plea agreement. As a term of the plea agreement, he was required to pay restitution of $116,615 before the Aug. 2 sentencing.
According to a press release from Nessel’s office, between 2011 and 2015, Sefa — through his company LAS Loan Assistance Centers — promised victims he would negotiate mortgage modifications and save their homes from foreclosure.
Instead of delivering the services he promised, Sefa did little to nothing for the victims and many lost their homes in the process. An investigation by the Department of Attorney General found a large portion of Sefa’s clients were affected.
“When Michigan families are on the verge of losing their homes, the last thing they should have to worry about is being taken advantage of by an unethical business,” Nessel said. “These are hardworking men and women who needed help, but instead got cheated out of money they could not afford to lose. Today’s sentencing was about making certain that these victims were properly indemnified and that Mr. Sefa was held accountable for his actions.”
Sefa appeared in Livingston County Circuit Court on Friday, April 12 and pleaded guilty to one count of conducting criminal enterprises.
In exchange for his plea, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office agreed to dismiss the 29 remaining charges against him and recommend no more and no less than one year in the Michigan Department of Corrections if Sefa makes full restitution at $116,615 within 90 days,
If he paid no restitution, 36 to 60 months would have been requested at Sefa’s sentencing.