Former state rep gets probation for ‘ghost’ employee’

Former state rep gets probation for ‘ghost’ employee’

A former Pennsyvlvania state rep. representing Philadelphia, and the sister who he hired as chief of staff in violation of House rules, were sentenced today to probation for the scheme.

Former state rep. J.P. Miranda (D-197th dist.) and his sister Michelle Wilson were charged in January 2014 with corruption charges by D.A. Seth Williams for allegedly scheming to conceal Wilson’s employment at his office by paying her through another employee.

On Thursday, Miranda was sentenced to five years’ probation on a conflict of interest charge, and Wilson was sentenced to two years’ probation on a charge of lying to the grand jury, the Inquirer reported.

While working as a state rep., Miranda had hired his sister to work in his office in violation of Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus rules, paid her about $1,700 through a “straw employee,” then lied to conceal his actions.

An investigatory grand jury charged Miranda with trying to circumvent the rules against hiring Wilson as his chief of staff by paying Timothy Duckett, a former driver for his office, as a full-time employee, and having Duckett give up part of his paycheck to Wilson.

Duckett was highlighted in a May 2013 broadcasts by FOX 29, which described him as a “ghost employee” and showed that he was working at his auto repair shop while listed as a full-time employee in Miranda’s legislative office.

That news story led directly to the investigation, D.A. Williams said at the time the indictment was released in 2014.