Hathaway presents letters from friends and family as she fights to stay out of prison

Ann Arbor, Mich. (WXYZ) - She's off the bench and may soon be in prison - unless a federal judge is influenced by letters written by her family and friends.

The 7 Action News Investigators first exposed former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway in a phony home short sale scheme.

She pleaded guilty to bank fraud just weeks after resigning from the high court.

Cynthia Van Elslander writes: "if you want to truly know a person, look at their friends."

She writes how her special needs son was always welcome in the home next door. And how they became even closer after Cynthia was diagnosed with double cancer.

A niece (Sandra Rakoczy Anderson) writes that Diane Hathaway has been with her - helping take care of her mother and Hathaway's older sister in the final stages of Alzheimer's while the niece works a full time job and has a 9-year-old autistic son.

Amy Hathaway, a sister-in-law, writes that Diane Hathaway "truly is not the person the media has portrayed her to be. This crime is an aberration." she writes that Diane pleaded guilty as a "gracious and loving act to her family."

Hathaway pleaded guilty to defrauding her mortgage lender out of $600,000 in a short sale on this Grosse Pointe park home. To qualify, Hathaway parked two other homes in temporary ownership to other family members.

But her attorney argues the bank loss was only $70,000 and it has been paid back.

Federal prosecutors are pushing for 12 to 18 months in prison.

The defense attorney argues Hathaway has lost her career and putting her in prison is "dubious at best."

If she does not go to prison, Hathaway plans to work as a volunteer with cancer patients.  She lost a younger sister to cancer.

The sentencing is set for May 28 in front of US District Judge John Corbett O'Meara in Ann Arbor.

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