Ex-sheriff's deputy admits role in fraud scheme

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SPRINGFIEL,D Mo. A former St. Clair County sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty on Monday for his role in a wire fraud scheme. He joined a former county jail inmate who pleaded guilty three months ago.

Michael E. Mullaney, 54, of Lowry City, pleaded guilty on Monday for stealing public money. Co-defendant William Parker, 54, of Fort Ritchie, Fla., formerly of Urich, Mo., pleaded guilty on Feb. 5, 2016, to wire fraud.

Mullaney was a St. Clair County sheriff’s deputy who arrested Parker for first-degree burglary on Feb. 20, 2010. While Parker was in jail, he and Mullaney devised a scheme to defraud Work Force West Virginia to claim unemployment benefits for Parker to which he was not entitled.

Mullaney admitted he obtained personal information from Parker in order to make Parker’s claim for unemployment benefits through Work Force West Virginia. Mullaney completed an Internet form with Parker’s personal information to fraudulently certify Parker’s eligibility for unemployment benefits. Parker was not eligible for unemployment benefits because he was not available and willing to accept full-time suitable work while he was in jail.

As a result of the fraud scheme, Parker received $5,388 on a bank debit card between Feb. 25 and May 10, 2010.

Under federal statutes, Mullaney faces a sentence of up to one year in federal prison without parole. Parker faces a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencings will be determined by a judge based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.

This case was investigated by the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department and the Work Force West Virginia Unemployment Compensation Division.