Wayne Co. attorney pleads guilty to embezzling from dead client’s trust

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Wayne County attorney pleaded guilty to embezzling money from a dead client's trust intended for the Michigan Humane Society, state officials announced Wednesday.

Anthony Semaan, 64, entered his plea Tuesday in Wayne County Circuit Court to embezzlement of $50,000 to $100,000, a 15-year felony, the Michigan Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

The Grosse Pointe Park resident's conviction will be reported to the State Bar of Michigan. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 9, according to the release.

Authorities reported that Semaan drafted the  trust in 2011 and the client, who died two years later, had half allocated to the Michigan Humane Society. Since the assets were intended for a charity, the law required the Attorney General’s Office to be involved.

In 2016, Semaan was to distribute the trust's funds after all expenses were paid but instead placed $262,732.68 in his escrow account, distributed two payments to individuals named in the trust and never told the Michigan Humane Society about the 50% disbursement, investigators said.

Semaan was charged in April.

“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," said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in a statement.