11.22.2011

Last set of charges against Semian tossed out of court

By Joe McDonald | Times-Tribune Staff Writer

A Lackawanna County judge on Tuesday dismissed the remaining charges against former real estate executive George A. Semian, once one of the area’s best-known real estate agents, who was charged in September with stealing from the real estate firm where he worked and passing bad checks.

The last set of charges, theft by failure to make required deposition of funds and receiving stolen property, were dropped by Judge Vito P. Geroulo in a court order that said, in essence, Mr. Semian had agreed to pay the money he owed to the victims.

The theft charges revolved around Mr. Semian’s sale of Semian Real Estate Group to Mark DeStefano, Terry Barrett and Richard Dericks. As part of the agreement, Mr. Semian stayed on as a staff member. Prosecutors said he told the new owners that an escrow account had to remain in his name.

According to Mr. Semian’s arrest papers, Mr. Semian then secretly pocketed $7,500 in rents from ground-floor space at 400 Spruce St. subleased to a winery, deli counter and chocolate shop.

In addition, prosecutors said he pocketed a $15,000 deposit for a property at Glenmaura in Moosic in April. More deposits from real estate transactions were pocketed over the next two months for a total of $35,700 in misappropriated money, prosecutors said.

Mr. Semian was fired from the firm May 31.

The bounced-check charge that was dismissed stemmed from Mr. Semian’s plans to hold a health and wellness event featuring fitness gurus Richard Simmons, Florida personal trainer Andy Sziraki, and TV star Mario Lopez. Mr. Simmons backed out because of poor advance ticket sales.

In October, Mr. Semian agreed to pay $5,000 in restitution to Mr. Sziraki, and in exchange prosecutors agreed to drop the bad check charge.

Attempts to contact Mr. Semian’s lawyer, Scranton attorney Mark Powell, for comment were unsuccessful.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/last-set-of-charges-against-semian-tossed-out-of-court-1.1236390#ixzz1f8FZoawV

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