Attorney Stephen Siringoringo Disbarred

This is from the California Bar Journal.  You can access the article here.

Attorney who drew 800-plus complaints agrees to disbarment

By Amy Yarbrough
Staff Writer

A Garden Grove attorney who was the subject of hundreds of complaints from distressed homeowners agreed to be disbarred last month for his misconduct in 14 of those cases.
Stephen Lyster Siringoringo [#264161], 33, admitted to taking illegal advanced fees from homeowners in loan modification cases, failing to provide those homeowners with an accounting and aiding in the unauthorized practice of law by allowing non-lawyers to meet with those clients, according to a stipulation filed Oct. 15 in State Bar Court.

Although he stipulated to 29 counts of misconduct in the 14 cases, the State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel said it has received 796 additional complaints about Siringoringo’s conduct.

The Siringoringo Law Firm would set up retainer agreements with its clients where loan modification work would be split into stages. In the first two stages, which involved completing the loan application, clients would be charged between $2,000 and $3,500. In the third stage, when the loan application was submitted and the firm purportedly negotiated with lenders, clients would be charged $495 every 30 days while awaiting the lender’s decision.

Siringoringo provided refunds ranging from $1,500 to $5,970 in the 14 cases outlined in the stipulation. Other former clients may be eligible for reimbursement from the Client Security Fund after Siringoringo’s discipline is finalized by the California Supreme Court.

Siringoringo was the subject of an earlier discipline case. In 2013, the State Bar Court recommended he receive an 18-month suspension for collecting advanced fees in 20 loan modification matters.

The current stipulation notes that Siringoringo’s similar misconduct in the prior case occurred only one or two years earlier.
“Significantly, Respondent was aware of the ethically suspect nature of his conduct in accepting advanced fees in loan modification cases before any of the 14 clients in the current matter retained him,” it read.

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