Crimes are committed by people from all walks of life, from street criminals to people who hold high positions in the government. A fraudulent act that is committed by a government official, businessperson or professional is considered to be a white collar crime. Typically, those who are facing white collar crime charges have to undergo extensive investigation, and they may be fined or imprisoned if found guilty.

As we discussed several weeks ago, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Judicial Tenure Commission have made an allegation of fraud against Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway. For now, the claim made by the U.S. Attorney's Office is only civil, but it's possible that criminal charges could be filed. Hathaway allegedly tried to short sell a property by shuffling other properties in Michigan and another state. She might have been suspended by the Judicial Tenure Commission if she had not announced her retirement.

Other than facing the possibility of being criminally charged, Hathaway may also lose her pension -- an update to the situation. According to the Michigan Republican Party, she should give up her pension to save taxpayers' money. However, a labor lawyer said that she should be allowed to keep her pension under Michigan law. It will be interesting to see how this case unfolds and if criminal charges are filed.

Those who are charged with white collar crimes should try to seek information or advice on how to build strong defenses in court. Although prosecutors often try to portray accused individuals as outright criminals, it's important to remember that you still have rights when facing criminal charges. As experienced defense attorney can help explain those rights and help protect them as you go through the criminal justice system.

Source:, "Will Michigan Supreme Court Justice Hathaway face criminal charges, will she get her pension?" Cheryl Chodun, Jan. 7, 2013