Wayne County attorney convicted of embezzling client’s trust sentenced

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Wayne County attorney convicted of embezzling money from a dead client's trust intended for the Michigan Humane Society has been sentenced, state officials announced Wednesday.

A judge gave Anthony Semaan two years' probation and ordered a substance abuse assessment, psychological assessment, cognitive behavioral therapy and set $2,848 in costs and fees, the Michigan Attorney General's Office said in a statement. 

He also received a one-day credit for time served, and his conviction has been reported to the State Bar of Michigan, according to the release.

The Grosse Pointe Park resident pleaded guilty in November to embezzlement of $50,000 to $100,000, a 15-year felony.

State authorities reported that Semaan drafted the victim’s trust in 2011 and the client, who died two years later, had half allocated to the Michigan Humane Society, since renamed Michigan Humane. 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 last April.

“Professionals who misappropriate the funds of their clients also exploit their trust and will be held accountable by this office,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement.