A Livingston County man who stole tens of thousands of dollars from more than 30 Michigan residents using a fake mortgage assistance scheme has been sentenced.

65-year-old Lawrence Sefa of Fenton was sentenced Friday to one year in the county jail by Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Miriam Cavanaugh. He previously pleaded guilty to one count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise and received a delayed sentence under a plea agreement. As a term of the agreement, he was required to pay full restitution in the amount of $116,615 before his sentencing.

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. Sefa and LAS allegedly guaranteed specific outcomes, such as lower monthly mortgage payments, which is impossible to do. Sefa is also said to have withheld his clients’ personal financial documents when asked to return them. 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.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says in a press release that Friday’s sentencing “was about making certain that these victims were properly indemnified and that Mr. Sefa was held accountable for his actions.” (DK)