Hathaway to bank $99,000 pension; lawmakers aim to stop it in wake of 7 Action News probe
2:21 PM, Feb 15, 2013
12:38 PM, Feb 19, 2013
(WXYZ) LANSING - Guilty. Unemployed. Disgraced.
With the stroke of a pen last month, fmr. Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway admitted to bank fraud: concocting a years-long scheme to wipe away $600,000 in mortgage debt by hiding a Florida home in her stepdaughter's name. Her fraud was first exposed by a 7 Action News investigation in May.
Hathaway faces up to 18 months in prison and up to $120,000 in fines and restitution, but she'll earn that money back in no time, thanks to you. Earlier this month, pension officials calculated that the stat will pay Hathaway nearly $99,000 every year for the rest of her life.
If the 58-year-old lives another 20 years, she'll bank nearly $2,000,000.
"I think it's outrageous that the public is paying a pension to someone that committed that sort of crime," said State Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge).
Jones chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he's drafting a bill that'll try to put a hold on Hathaway's hefty pension.
He's found support from Democrats, too.
"If we can't do it retroactively, let's do it prospectively for the future," said State Senator Glenn Anderson (D-Westland).
"Make it clear that taxpayers are not going to pay a pension for someone creating fraud...especially if it's a felony," he said.
Lawmakers' new bill, expected to introduced in the coming months, would aim to bar future felons who hold elected office from collecting pensions. Even they admit, though, that the new law probably won't stop Hathaway from collecting your her pension.
Even with last month's guilty plea, Hathaway's troubles aren't over. Her law license has been suspended, according to the state's Attorney Grievance Commission and, when she's sentenced, her real estate broker's license will come under review by the state, too. If officials decide she lacks good moral character, they could suspend or revoke it.
But if there's any good news for Hathaway, it's this: neither she nor any of her family members are in danger of facing more criminal charges. If there was a case to bring against Hathaway's family members, prosecutors confirm it wasn't strong enough.
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