(CBS Detroit) – A Wayne County attorney has pleaded guilty after he was accused of stealing money from his deceased client’s trust.
Anthony Semaan, 64, of Grosse Pointe Park, pleaded guilty to embezzlement $50,000 to $100,000 — a 15-year felony.READ MORE: Annual 'Menorah In The D' Event Kicks Off In Metro Detroit
Semaan was charged in April. His conviction will be reported to the State Bar of Michigan.READ MORE: Porch Pirates: Tips On Keeping Packages Safe From Thieves This Holiday Season
“Older individuals who use professionals for estate planning should be able to rely on those professionals to follow the law and make sure the money is distributed in accordance’s with their wishes. When those professionals misappropriate those funds, my department stands ready to hold them accountable,” says Attorney General Dana Nessel.MORE NEWS: Two Arrested In Connection To Senior Sexual Assault Case
State officials say Semaan drafted the client’s trust in 2011, two years before the client died. Fifty percent of the trust was allocated to Michigan Humane. Because the assets were intended for a charity, charitable trust provisions required the AG’s office be involved, officials say.
In 2016, Semaan was tasked with distributing funds according to what was specified in the trust after all expenses were paid. Officials say he put more than $262,000 into his lawyer’s trust/escrow account and distributed two payments to individuals named in the trust. However, he did not provide Michigan Human with a notice of its interest in the trust or with the 50% disbursement.
Semaan’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 9.
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