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Wayne County Attorney Sentenced for Embezzling from Client's Trust

LANSING - A Detroit area attorney charged with embezzling from a deceased client's trust has been sentenced, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.

Anothony Semaan, 64, of Grosse Pointe Park, was charged in April.

In November he pleaded guilty as charged to embezzlement $50,000 to $100,000, a 15-year felony. His conviction has been reported to the State Bar of Michigan. 

This morning Judge Noah P. Hood sentenced Semaan to two years' probation, substance abuse assessment, psychological assessment, cognitive behavioral therapy and $2,848 in costs and fees. Judge Hood also gave Semaan a one-day credit for time served.

"Professionals who misappropriate the funds of their clients also exploit their trust and will be held accountable by this office," Nessel said. 

In 2011, Semaan drafted the victim's trust in this case. The individual later passed away in 2013. Fifty percent of the victim's trust was allocated to the Michigan Humane Society and because those assets were intended for a charity, charitable trust provisions required that the Attorney General's office be involved.

In 2016, after all expenses were paid, Semaan was tasked with distributing the funds according to what was specified in the trust. He placed a total of $262,732.68 into his lawyer's trust/escrow account, distributed two payments to individuals named in the trust, but did not provide the Michigan Humane Society with a notice of their interest in the trust or with the 50% disbursement.