Orchard Lake man gets 12 months for mortgage scheme
An Orchard Lake attorney who pleaded guilty in September to conducting a fake mortgage assistance scheme has been sentenced to jail.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that Steven Barry Ruza, 52, of Orchard Lake, has been sentenced to 12 months in the Oakland County Jail followed by five years of probation.
Ruza was sentenced on Friday by Judge Nanci Grant in Oakland County’s 6th Circuit Court on one count of conducting a criminal enterprise.
Ruza, former owner of Home Legal Group Inc., was further ordered to pay $445,895.16 in restitution to the first 297 of his victims.
Under the stipulations of his plea deal, that amount could grow to hundreds of thousands more in restitution based on the final number of his victims.
That count is still being determined.
His plea deal ensures that Ruza cannot operate as an attorney, or run this kind of business again, in the future.
Prior to sentencing, Ruza completed the following:
■ Provided a list of the 50 satisfied Home Legal Group clients by Oct. 1, 2015.
■ Paid $262,500 in restitution and will pay any remaining restitution as ordered by the court. This initial payment will go direct to the victims.
Additional restitution will be paid by the Michigan Homeowner Protection Fund, which Ruza is then required to reimburse.
■ Agree to a psychological exam and complete any recommended counseling.
“The conclusion of this case ensures another bad apple is off the street...,” Schuette said in a press release. “Criminals who take advantage of hard working men and women want nothing more than to stay in their homes will not be tolerated.”