Michigan House panel considers ban on mobile phone use while driving

Ex-lawyer sentenced to 15 years in fraud cases

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

A disbarred Shelby Township attorney has been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Wednesday in a press release.

Steven Ruza, 54, was sentenced by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina in the 30th Circuit Court in Ingham County for falsely certifying a driver's license. He was sentenced as a repeat offender, according to the press release. Ruza in 2015 was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay $610,000 in restitution for conducting a criminal enterprise.

Ruza and law offices were first charged in 2015 with multiple felonies for stealing money from his clients facing mortgage foreclosures. He was sentenced in 2015 to one year in jail and ordered to pay $610,000 in restitution for conducting a criminal enterprise.

The Attorney General's Corporate Oversight Divison received a tip in 2017 that Ruza was hiding a large amount of money and after investigating, found Ruza obtained a Michigan's driver's license with his photo and a stolen identity. Further investigation showed Ruza falsified information on a car title application with the state, according to the press release.  

Ruza was charged in July and through a plea agreement, Ruza pleaded guilty to two of four charged felonies on Sept. 13, the release said. 

At this time, Ruza still owes $348,025.50 in restitution from his previous scam. He is imprisoned, serving 40 months to 20 years for violating probation related to the 2015 conviction. 

“Today’s sentencing brings to a close a long and winding road of criminal activity by Mr. Ruza,” said Schuette in the press release. “I hope he has learned there are consequences for actions and that this serves as an example for others that breaking the law not once, but twice, for personal financial gains has consequences.”