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Michigan Supreme Court justice charged with fraud

In November, we wrote about white collar crime and the Michigan Supreme Court justice who was facing civil litigation filed by the U.S. Attorney General's office. The justice is now facing criminal charges. She is accused of federal bank fraud, arising out of the same transaction that is the basis of the civil suit. The justice is accused of illegally transferring an out-of-state property in order to qualify for a short sale on her local home.

The justice and her husband allegedly quit claimed a Florida property to a family member, in order to deceive the bank into believing they had less assets. The couple did the same with another property, and then wrote a letter to their mortgage lender, claiming financial hardship, and requested the short sale of their home. This allowed them to walk away from their home that sold for less than the mortgage amount, and be forgiven that debt. After the justice and her husband were granted the short sale of their home, they allegedly redeemed the properties they had transferred to family.

Back in November, when the civil suit was initiated by the U.S. Attorney General's office, the justice reportedly claimed she had no intention of stepping down from the bench. She has recently changed her mind it appears; she announced her retirement earlier this month. She reportedly made the decision in December to retire, after the Judicial Tenure Commission filed a complaint and sought her suspension due to misconduct violations in connection with private real estate transactions. This is a complicated situation, as most so-called white collar crime or fraud cases tend to be.

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