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Michigan lawmaker pleads guilty in ghost employee scheme

March 2, 2018

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan lawmaker charged with putting a no-show employee on the public payroll has pleaded guilty, resigned from office and faces up to a year in prison.

Sen. Bert Johnson, a Democrat from Highland Park, must repay $23,000 to the state of Michigan. He will be sentenced on Aug. 7.

After pleading guilty Friday to conspiring to steal money, he resigned. He was accused of putting Glynis Thornton on his payroll in order to repay $14,000 in loans from her. Federal investigators say Thornton did no work but collected $23,000.

Thornton cooperated with investigators after getting caught in a separate corruption case involving bribes for a Detroit school principal.

U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider says public officials “cannot treat the people’s money as their own.”

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