SAN BERNARDINO – A former Westminster attorney who targeted lower income and/or Spanish speaking San Bernardino County residents in order to defraud them pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday. Stephen Lyster Siringoringo, 35, of Westminster, pleaded guilty to grand theft and money laundering for his role in a $44 million loan modification scam San Bernardino County District Attorney officials said.
Through radio and television advertising across Southern California, Siringoringo gained access to clients who he led to believe that he would help them tolower their house payment to prevent foreclosure. Millions of dollars were collected from hundreds of victims hoping for mortgage relief, when Siringoringo and the co-defendants Joshua Cobb and Alfred Clausen rarely delivered 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,” San Bernardino County District Attorney officials said in the news release. “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.” Hundreds of complains were filed with the California State Bar resulting in Siringoringo disbarment.
The conviction came following a lengthy investigation by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office-Bureau Real Estate Fraud Unit. Siringoringo
was ordered to pay $108,000 in restitution and was sentenced to 7 years in prison. In addition to the San Bernardino County restitution, the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau obtained a judgement of restitution for victims outside of the county in the amount of $20,825,000. Cobb also pled guilty last year and was ordered to pay restitution and is serving a 5-year sentence officials said.
Alfred Orn Clausen remains a fugitive at large and is believed to have fled to Iceland. Any information regarding his current whereabouts can be
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