Pennsylvania lawmaker accused of ghost-employee scam

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 27, 2014 2:05 PM

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania state Representative was accused on Monday of a so-called ghost employee scam, in which he allegedly hired a no-show worker in order to funnel money to his sister.

Democratic state Rep. Jose Miranda and his sister Michelle Wilson each are charged with criminal conspiracy, perjury and conflict of interest, according to the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams.

Miranda allegedly hired an auto repair-shop worker as a legislative assistant to secretly funnel the job's salary to Miranda's sister, the DA's office said. The job pays $36,000 a year.

The ghost employee was hired in December 2012 after Miranda's attempt to hire his sister outright was thwarted, the district attorney said.

House Democrats informed Miranda he could not hire a family member, Williams said.

Miranda was first elected in November 2012 to represent the 197th state House district in north Philadelphia.

The investigation began in May 2013, when a local television station showed footage of the employee working at an auto repair shop on days he was supposed to be working in Miranda's office, the district attorney said.

Miranda and his sister were expected to turn themselves in to authorities on Tuesday morning.

(Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Bernadette Baum)