Oakland Country attorney accused of mortgage scam
The Attorney General's Office says people desperate to keep their homes sought the help of Oakland County attorney Steven Ruza.
Ruza, however, only helped himself to their money.
More than 100 victims have enlisted the help of the attorney general, claiming they were victims of mortgage scam and that Ruza stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from them.
"Our investigators have spent well over a year, digging and trying to find every case that he has been involved in," said Andrea Bitely, the Michigan Attorney General spokesperson. "Victims told us they were experiencing a scam."
Fox 2 spoke with victim Denise Trumble, who said that when she was in danger of losing her home, Ruza sent her a postcard offering help. She gave him a check for $5,000 and was told he could save her home.
But, in the weeks and months that followed, Ruza told her he was "working on it." By then, Trumble realized she was scammed and many others ended up losing their home to foreclosure.
"Mr. Ruza would promise help ... but then do next to nothing to help," said Bitely.
No one, except a just a few missed package slips from FedEx, was at his law office The Home Legal Group in Orchard Lake when Fox 2 stopped by.
Neighbors at his Orchard Lake home say that Ruza has lived alone for about 15 years. They said on early Friday morning, the police swarmed the home and took Ruza into custody, where he faces dozens of charges.
"Twenty-six counts of obtaining money through false pretenses - basically making false statements to the consumers - that's a felony punishable by five years in prison and a $10,000 fine," said Bitely.
In addition, Ruza faces a racketeering charge which could land him 20 years in prison. He's currently being held at the Oakland County Jail on a $1 million dollar bond.
The Attorney General's Office says this scheme has been going on for years: charges date back to 2012 through the present day.
Trumble said years later she got her $5,000 check returned. But there are potentially more than hundred other victims who did not.
Other victims are advised to report cases against Ruza by calling the Attorney General's office or filing the case on their website http://michigan.gov/ag/.