DETROIT, MI – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced felony forgery charges against former 36th District Court Clerk Annette Bates, 56-years-old, of Detroit, and co-conspirator Charles Fair, 44-years-old, also of Detroit, who allegedly took in $20,000 in bribes for dismissing more than $40,000 in traffic tickets and fines.
Bates and Fair are each charged with two counts of felony forgery after a joint investigation between the Michigan Department of Attorney General and the FBI’s Public Corruption Task Force revealed that over a two-year period the duo forged the dismissal of $40,000 in traffic tickets, fines and citations in the name of 36th District Court judges, unbeknownst to the judges.
In exchange for the dismissals, Bates and Fair took approximately $20,000 in bribes. Long time acquaintances, Fair and Bates allegedly worked together with Fair funneling requests for dismissal to Bates who would then dismiss the tickets from the record, each taking a cut of the fee. In some cases, dismissing tickets allowed drivers with a suspended license to regain their operator’s license.
“Individuals with a blatant disregard for the law must realize there are consequences,” said Schuette. “Stealing from Detroit’s traffic citation funds is stealing from not just the City coffers, but stealing from those who are working hard to continue turning Detroit around.”
“We place a high priority on Public Corruption investigations, whether at the local, state, or federal level”, said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Detroit Division. “I’m very pleased that this joint effort with the Michigan Attorney General’s office brought two individuals who abused the public’s trust to justice.”
Bates and Fair were arraigned on November 30th, 2015 in 36th District Court before Magistrate Dawn White. Personal recognizance bonds were set at $5,000.00. The probable cause conference is set for December 7th, 2015 and the preliminary examination on December 14th, 2015, both in the 36th District Court. Each count of forgery is a felony that carries a penalty of up to fourteen years in prison.