Saturday, August 29, 2015

State Rep. J.P. Miranda facing political corruption charges

State Rep. J.P. Miranda and his sister are facing three felony charges in a political corruption case, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced today.

State Rep. J.P. Miranda facing political corruption charges

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State Rep. J.P. Miranda, during swearing-in ceremony. (Photo from pahouse.com/miranda)
State Rep. J.P. Miranda, during swearing-in ceremony. (Photo from pahouse.com/miranda)

State Rep. J.P. Miranda and his sister, Michelle Wilson, have been charged with three political corruption charges, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced today.

The charges are conflict of interest, perjury and criminal conspiracy. They are expected to turn themselves in within a few days, according to a press release from Williams.

Fox 29 reported in May that the District Attorney's Office was investigating its report on allegations of a "ghost employee" on the books in Miranda's North Philly district office. Miranda, in his car leaving his office, peeled out into traffic when Fox 29 reporter Jeff Cole tried to ask him questions.

The D.A. opened a grand jury investigation after the Fox story aired, according to the release. The probe found that Miranda created the no-show position for Timothy Duckett, a former campaign worker and part-time driver, to funnel money to his sister, Michelle Wilson. 

Miranda had previously attempted to make Wilson chief of staff for his legislative office, but was rebuffed by the House Democratic Caucus, which said the hiring would violate anti-nepotism rules. Miranda then hired Duckett and told him he didn't have to show up if he funneled money to Wilson, according to the grand jury.

Miranda, a Democrat, is up for reelection this year after winning his first term in the 197th District in 2012 with 95 percent of the general election vote.  He replaced former state Rep. Jewell Williams, who stepped down to run for sheriff in Philadelphia.

Miranda previously worked for City Council President Darrell Clarke, state Sen. Shirley Kitchen and Mayor Nutter.

Tomas Sanchez, the husband of City Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez, moved to an apartment one block north of their home last fall to be within the boundaries of the 197th District.  Sanchez said he was seriously considering a run for state House seat.

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