(Update) J.P. Miranda, Pa. state rep, charged for funneling pay to sister

Jose "JP" Miranda
Jose “JP” Miranda

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced today that state Rep. Jose P. Miranda (D-197th dist.), 34, known as J.P. Miranda, is charged with perjury and criminal conspiracy for allegedly hiring his sister to work in his office, paying her through a “straw employee” and lying to conceal his actions.

Both Miranda and and his sister, Michelle Wilson, 28, will turn themselves in Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. at the D.A.’s office, a spokeswoman said.

“Philadelphians … are affronted by this kind of theft,” Williams said. “Philadelphians don’t want it this way — they don’t want their tax dollars wasted.”

Miranda wanted to hire Wilson as his chief of staff, but Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus rules prohibit hiring relatives at political offices.

A grand jury investigation concluded that Miranda decided to “circumvent the rules” 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 this investigation, D.A. Williams said.

Duckett has been granted immunity in this case in return for his cooperation with the investigation.

“Yes, he was committing a crime … [but] in some ways, he was a victim himself,” Williams said of Duckett.

Miranda and Wilson are each charged with conflict of interest, perjury and criminal conspiracy.

Williams said that both repeatedly lied to the grand jury to conceal their arrangement.

“The alleged conduct is very disappointing. I have not spoken with Representative Miranda but any allegation of misconduct raises serious concern,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “Legislators hold a position of trust and are held to a high standard under the law. We take any report of criminal or ethical violations very seriously. The grand jury has done its work and the legal process must now unfold.”

Pennsylvania Democratic House Caucus spokesman Bill Patton said that Miranda would not face any consequences at his elected office while the case was pending.

“In terms of House rules, nothing happens to a member unless they were convicted,” Patton said.

The Pennsylvania Republican City Committee executive director, Joseph DeFelice also released a statement on the charges.

“While it is nice to see our DA finally using his ‘Dream Team’ of public corruption prosecutors, we wonder why this is his starting point,” DeFelice said. “Why no prosecutions of Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, for instance?”

____________________

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…