Michigan lawmaker charged with paying ghost employee

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DETROIT (AP/WOOD) — A Michigan lawmaker has been charged with putting a no-show employee on his office payroll to repay $14,000 in personal loans.

Democratic Sen. Bert Johnson was indicted Tuesday on charges of conspiracy and theft.

The indictment says the person was listed by Johnson as a “community liaison” but was actually a ghost employee who had lent money to the lawmaker. The grand jury says that person was paid $23,000 for no work for nine months.

The indictment comes weeks after Michigan State Police searched Johnson’s home and office in a joint investigation with the FBI. Boxes and a computer screen were among the items removed from his Highland Park home.

Messages seeking comment were left for Johnson and his lawyer.

The person who lent the money to Johnson is identified in the indictment as the owner of a company called M.A.D.E. The owner is Glynis Thornton.

In a separate case, Thornton is awaiting her sentence for paying bribes to a school principal.

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