Attorney accused of stealing funds dead client wanted to go to Michigan Humane Society

An attorney is facing charges after he allegedly stole funds that a deceased client wanted to be donated to the Michigan Humane Society.

Anthony Semaan, 63, of Grosse Pointe Park, is charged with embezzlement by an agent ($50,000 - $100,000).

The Michigan attorney general's office was involved because the money was intended for a charity.

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According to AG Dana Nessel, the client's trust was drafted by Semaan in 2011. The client, who died in 2013, wanted 50% of their trust to go to the Humane Society.

After all of the expenses were paid in 2016, Semaan was supposed to distribute the funds.

Semaan put $262,732.68 into his lawyer’s trust/escrow account, Nessel said. He allegedly 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. 

"The victim’s trust very clearly identified how the funds were to be disbursed and by law, the defendant had a duty to adhere to the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct," Nessel said. "It is concerning to know that someone who was in a position to carry out the wishes of the deceased may have taken advantage of that position. I am grateful to the Financial Crimes Division in my office for continuing to investigate these types of occurrences and ensuring that those most vulnerable are protected."   

Semaan's probable cause hearing is scheduled for Thursday.