By Kim Glovas
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia district attorney today announced charges against a state lawmaker from Philadelphia.
State representative Jose “JP” Miranda (D-Phila.) and his sister are charged with criminal conspiracy, perjury, and conflict of interest.
DA Seth Williams said today that Miranda had hired a “ghost” (non-working) employee so that Miranda could circumvent state nepotism laws and have his sister, Michelle Wilson, continue to act as his chief of staff.
The DA says Wilson had been working as Miranda’s chief of staff before the House Democratic Caucus ordered Miranda to get her off the payroll.
“As a result of that and a way to get around the rules, he hired a guy who had been working on his campaign as a driver, he hired him to be on a staff.”
According to the grand jury investigation, Miranda then hired a man named Timothy Duckett, a former driver for Miranda’s campaign, as a legislative assistant without actually requiring him to do any work. The DA says Duckett was also ordered by Miranda to give a portion of his state pay to Wilson.
At the same time, the grand jury said, Wilson continued to play the actual role of Miranda’s chief of staff.
“Both State Representative Miranda and his sister lied repeatedly to the grand jury,” Williams said.
The DA says the investigation into Miranda — who represents Pennsylvania’s 197th legislative district, covering sections of North Philadelphia — began in May of last year after a local television station aired a story about Duckett working at his auto repair shop on the days he was supposed to be working in Miranda’s legislative office.
Miranda, a first-term Pennsylvania legislator, is a onetime aide to City Council president Darrell Clarke and state senator Shirley Kitchen.
As of now, Duckett is not being charged with anything and will not have to return any of the money he did receive.
Both Miranda and Wilson are expected to surrender to authorities tomorrow, according to DA Williams.