Stephen Siringoringo (Booking Photo)
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.– A former attorney in Westminster has pleaded guilty to grand theft and money laundering for his role in a $44 million loan modification scam.
Stephen Lyster Siringoringo, 35, of Westminster, pleaded no contest Wednesday to 3 counts of Grand Theft and Money Laundering, and admitted an aggravated White Collar enhancement for taking over $100,000.00 by fraud or deceit which requires a commitment to the California state prison.
The court ordered Siringoringo to pay $108,000 in restitution, which is the total amount connected to victims residing in San Bernardino County. Siringoringo was also sentenced to 7 years in state prison. In Jan. 2017, the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau obtained a judgment of restitution for victims outside of the county in the amount of $20,825,000.
The conviction was the culmination of a lengthy investigation by members of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office—Bureau of Investigation’s Real Estate Fraud Unit.
Siringoringo advertised loan modification services across Southern California via radio and television advertisements and targeted lower income and/or Spanish-speaking people within San Bernardino County.
According DDA Welch, the victims reached out to Siringoringo’s law office because they were led to believe he would help them to lower their house payments, thereby preventing foreclosure.
Siringoringo, along with co-defendants Joshua Cobb and Alfred Clausen, collected millions of dollars from hundreds of victims while rarely delivering on their promises.
Siringoringo, in particular, preyed on the victims by using his position as an attorney to gain their trust and charge large unlawful upfront fees and monthly payments.Most of the victims never received any loan modification, and many who had lost their money with Siringoringo, Cobb and Clausen sought assistance through other means.
Siringoringo was disbarred by the California State Bar as a result of hundreds of complaints. Disbarment occurred prior to the involvement of the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office.
Cobb pled guilty to similar charges last year.He was ordered to pay restitution and is serving a 5-year sentence.
Alfred Orn Clausen (pictured below) remains a fugitive at large and is believed to have fled to Iceland.Any information regarding his current whereabouts can be forwarded to Sr. Inv. John Vega at 909-382-7750 or via email at email@example.com.