Mich. high court justice facing charges

Jan. 19, 2013 at 11:47 PM

DETROIT, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Soon-to-retire Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway has been charged with bank fraud by federal authorities.

Detroit's WXYZ-TV reported the charge filed in U.S. District Court Friday stems from Hathaway's real estate dealings. The TV station said the justice transferred ownership of her Windemere, Fla., home into her stepdaughter's name until she arranged a short sale on a home in Grosse Pointe, Mich. The Florida home was transferred back into Hathaway's name after the sale of the Michigan home, which had a mortgage through ING Direct, was completed.

Federal prosecutors allege Hathaway "executed a scheme to defraud ING and to obtain money and funds owned by and under the control of ING by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses and representations."

WXYZ-TV said it could not reach Hathaway's attorney. She is to retire Monday.

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young Jr. said in a statement the Hathaway matter "cast an unfortunate shadow over the court."

"When any elected official is charged with serious misconduct, the public's faith in its government institutions can suffer," he said. "The federal criminal fraud charges levied against Justice Hathaway and her departure from the Supreme Court bring to a close an unhappy, uncharacteristic chapter in the life of this court.

"Going forward, my five fellow justices and I, and this court as an institution, will do what we have always strived to do: to uphold the highest ethical standards, render the best public service in promoting the rule of law for everyone, and do our utmost to deserve the trust the public has placed in us."

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