Former state Rep. J.P. Miranda to serve 5 years probation

Former state Rep. Jose “J.P.” Miranda will serve five years’ probation after pleading guilty to using a “ghost employee” to funnel taxpayer dollars to his sister, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. 

During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Edward gave Michelle Wilson two years’ probation for pleading guilty to false swearing — a misdemeanor.

State sentencing guidelines recommended up a year in jail for Miranda and probation for his sister.

Charles Peruto, Miranda’s lawyer, could not be reached for comment.

Miranda, 29, and Wilson, 35, were charged last January with conflict of interest, perjury and criminal conspiracy — all felonies — in connection with a scheme hatched after Wilson learned state nepotism laws barred her from being Miranda’s chief of staff.

Miranda hired Timothy Duckett to be a full-time legislative aide at his district office in North Philadelphia, but told him he never had to work 40 hours a week, just be “on call.”

During the pair’s preliminary hearing, Duckett testified that Miranda later asked him via a series of text messages to give Wilson money from his paychecks.

For a time, Duckett complied, but he eventually got fed up after shelling out $1,700 over the course of three pay periods. At the time, Duckett’s salary was $26,000.

A Miranda staffer testified that Wilson, while not on the payroll, effectively ran her brother’s legislative office.

Heading into Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Miranda faced one felony count for conflict of interest and false swearing, a misdemeanor.

Wilson only faced the false swearing charge, which stems from lying to a grand jury about the arrangement with Duckett.

Miranda was elected in 2012 to lead the 197th Legislative District. He’s now out of office after losing last May’s Democratic primary.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.