Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Wednesday

November 21, 2012

Michigan in Brief: 11/21/2012

Chief justice urges justice to 'clear the air'

LANSING — The chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court says allegations of bank fraud against another justice are a "dreadful development."

Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. says Justice Diane Hathaway or her attorney should "clear the air" and explain what happened.

Young was reacting Tuesday to a forfeiture lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors who want control of Hathaway's home in Windermere, Fla. The government says Hathaway and her husband transferred the property to a relative while they talked to a bank about a short sale on their home in Grosse Pointe Park.

After the short sale went through, the Florida home went back to Hathaway. The government says Hathaway committed fraud.

Hathaway isn't commenting.

Authorities: Man ran business behind bars

DETROIT — A jailed adult entertainment consultant convicted of tax evasion was able to manage his business for more than 18 months in Michigan using a laptop computer in his cell and jail telephones, authorities said.

Francis Sharrak, 44, of Farmington Hills, was serving as his own lawyer at the time and asked for the laptop to prepare arguments for his federal court sentencing in April, but he wasn't supposed to have the computer, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday.

Church embezzler, 77, gets probation

MOUNT CLEMENS — A 77-year-old woman has been sentenced to five years of probation for taking money from a Detroit-area church and has been ordered to repay $50,000.

Helen Gvozdich of Roseville was sentenced Tuesday in a Mount Clemens courtroom, avoiding the possibility of up to two years behind bars. She earlier pleaded guilty to embezzlement in an agreement with prosecutors. Court records say a judge also ordered her to perform community service.

Ex-professor charged with porn possession

DETROIT — Sexually explicit videos of children found on the computer of a Michigan college professor had nothing to do with his research, which focused on Internet censorship and the use of children in advertising, among other things, his lawyer said Tuesday.

William Merrill appeared in federal court Tuesday in Flint and pleaded not guilty through his lawyer to possession of child pornography charges.

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