SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A former St. Clair County sheriff’s deputy received three years of probation last week for helping a jail inmate file for unemployment benefits.
A judge also ordered year Michael Mullaney to pay $898 in restitution to West Virginia, where the inmate applied for benefits.
A federal grand jury indicted Mullaney and inmate William Parker for felony counts of stealing public funds in December 2014 for a scheme in which Parker filled out an application for unemployment benefits and Mullaney helped send it over the internet. Parker was in jail after being charged with first-degree burglar in February 2010, when he made the application.
The unemployment aid application required Parker to certify that he was available and willing to accept full-time work, which was a lie because Parker was in the St. Clair County jail in Osceola. Investigators said the scheme netted Parker $5,388.
The charge in the indictment could have carried a prison sentence up to 20 years. Instead, Mullaney pleaded guilty in May for a misdemeanor and the U.S. Attorney’s Office dropped the felony charge. U.S. Magistrate David Rush sentenced him to three years of probation and ordered him to pay $898, part of the money that Parker fraudulently received on a debit card from West Virginia.
Parker pleaded guilty last February for the scheme. He also received three years of federal probation last Aug. 17, and also had to pay $898 in restitution. He served five years of state probation for the burglary from 2010 to 2015.