GARDEN GROVE ATTORNEY CHARGED
WITH TAKING ADVANCED FEES FROM DISTRESSED HOMEOWNERS, FORMING PARTNERSHIP WITH
San Francisco, Oct. 15, 2012 – The State Bar of California has filed
disciplinary charges against a Garden Grove attorney accused of taking illegal
advanced fees from distressed homeowners and partnering with non-lawyers in a
large-scale loan modification scheme.
Stephen Lyster Siringoringo [Bar # 264161] has been charged with 25 counts of
misconduct including collecting advance fees for loan modification services,
forming a partnership with a non-lawyer, sharing fees with a non-lawyer, moral
turpitude and aiding in the unauthorized practice of law.
Siringoringo heavily advertised his services in southern California, even
though the state Legislature has prohibited the acceptance of advance fees for
loan modification work.
"Mr. Siringoringo's acceptance of advanced fees in disregard of California
law is a stark reminder that almost three years after the passage of SB 94,
loan modification abuses and fraud are alive and well and that some of the most
financially distressed and vulnerable members of the public are still being
victimized and exploited for financial gain," said Ashod Mooradian, deputy
trial counsel at the State Bar.
According to the notice of disciplinary charges against him, Siringoringo, 31,
first met his non-lawyer partners Alfred Clausen and Josh Cobb, the owners and
operators of Clausen & Cobb Management, Inc. (CCMI), in December 2009. Soon
after, Siringoringo agreed to allow them to open an office his name in Upland,
in exchange for a share of the legal fees it brought in. The office, staffed by
CCMI employees who operated independently, performed legal services and with
met clients without Siringoringo's supervision. The operation generated enough
money to open two other locations in Siringoringo's name – in Glendale and
Filed Oct. 10, the disciplinary notice lists at least 23 victims of the loan
modification scam, some of them couples. It also accuses Siringoringo of
“habitually” disregarding his loan modification practice and misleading his
clients into believing he was actually in charge of their cases “when in truth
and fact CCMI was in charge and operated the loan modification law practice
known as Siringoringo Law Office or the Law Offices of Stephen L.
Siringoringo.” The State Bar has placed a consumer alert on his online attorney profile
Siringoringo's case represents the latest in the State Bar's ongoing efforts to
combat loan modification fraud. Since February 2009, the State Bar’s Office of
Chief Trial Counsel has received thousands of complaints against attorneys
regarding loan modification fraud. More than 100 attorneys have been
disciplined so far, including 22 who have been disbarred.
The State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California
Supreme Court, serving the public and seeking to improve the justice system for
more than 80 years. All lawyers practicing law in California must be members of
the State Bar. By October 2012, membership reached 238,000.