By Diane Madigan
Independent Court Reporter
After seven months of postponements, Van Buren Township disbarred attorney Thomas White, 46, will be heading to circuit court at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit on April 23 for an arraignment on the information on 20 felony charges.
There are two separate cases against White. In the first case, filed in September, White is charged with five felonies against Judith Jordan of Belleville and her late husband Leland.
In the second case, filed in December, White is accused of one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, 15 counts of embezzlement, two counts of identity theft, one count each of larceny by conversion and uttering and publishing.
White is now accused of stealing more than $11 million from the victims in these two cases.
Just prior to White’s April 9 preliminary exam in the 34th District courtroom of Chief Judge Tina Brooks Green courtroom, Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Joseph Williams spoke to about a dozen victims that came to court to be available in case they were needed to testify.
To the victims, Williams said, if the cases go to trial, victims will be allowed to speak and would also be allowed to speak at sentencing.
Williams also indicated that he would like to see restitution that started with six figures. Adding, if White is in prison, he will not be able to work and make restitution.
White’s attorney Michael Vincent spoke for White, asking the scheduled two probable-cause exams be waived, which allowed Judge Green to bind him over to the 3rd Circuit Court at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice. She continued his personal recognizance bond.
If White wanted to hold his preliminary exams the court expected them to last three days.
(Frank Murphy Hall of Justice is located at 1441 St. Antoine, in Detroit. There is parking at Old St. Mary’s Church at a cost of $5 on days with no Tiger games. Cellphones are not allowed in the courthouse.)
In addition to Whites’ 2012 Ford Escape leased from Atchinson Ford, Ford Motor Credit is in the process of repossessing a leased 2012 Ford Fusion and a leased 2012 Ford F-150 truck. White hasn’t made lease payments on the vehicles since July 2013.
In court documents, an attorney for Ford Motor Credit stated that once the vehicles had been removed from the bankruptcy case White would have minimal motivation to insure, preserve or repair the vehicles and Ford wanted to proceed to take possession.
Teetering on eviction
Time ran out for White following a Jan. 16, court-ordered, pay-to-stay agreement for his Van Buren Township home on Savage Road.
White and his then-wife Heather entered into a land contract in 2006 with Robert and Gloria Coppock for the $360,000 home. But last summer the Whites stopped making payments to the Coppocks.
At 34th District Court White agreed to pay the Coppocks $36,355 by 4 p.m. April 14 for back land contract payments and unpaid taxes, but he paid nothing.
As the April 14 date approached, trucks and trailers and cars were at the White home, moving out possessions.
About 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 15, White called Coppock and they met at the house, where White turned over the keys to Coppock and apologized profusely.
Coppock said the house has been lived in but is in “relatively not bad shape.”
White was due to be evicted by the court this week if he didn’t pay as he agreed to.
By Diane Madigan