Livingston County man charged with felonies in mortgage assistance scam

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Wednesday announced that his Homeowner Protection Unit has filed 15 felony charges, including Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, and 15 misdemeanors against Lawrence Adell Sefa, 54, of Fenton, for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from Michigan residents who were facing mortgage foreclosures. Sefa operated his scam through his company, LAS Loan Assistance Centers. The charges were filed following an Attorney General investigation.

"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," said Schuette. "I want to thank my team for their dedication to finding these individuals, and I hope this serves as warning to others that we will continue to do what we can to protect Michigan residents."

Schuette filed the following charges against Sefa on November 9 in Livingston County 53B District Court:

- One count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, 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 was arraigned before Magistrate Jerry D. Sherwood on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Bond was set at $25,000, ten percent cash/surety. Sefa has made bond. He is prohibited from conducting business relating to credit services or mortgage services and cannot contact victims while the criminal proceedings are ongoing.

A probable cause hearing has been set for November 29 p.m. in front of Judge Suzanne Geddis, and a preliminary examination is scheduled for December 5.

The Department of Attorney General received multiple complaints that Sefa and his company LAS took money from clients up front for mortgage assistance and/or debt settlement but allegedly never provided the services. Sefa and LAS allegedly guaranteed specific outcomes, such as lower monthly mortgage payments, which is impossible to do.

Following an investigation by the Department of Attorney General, 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.

Published: Thu, Nov 16, 2017