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Former State Employee Found Guilty of Embezzlement

LANSING – Yesterday, a Wayne County jury in the 3rd Circuit Court found Rufus Chappell, a former state of Michigan employee, guilty of embezzlement from the State, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. The felony conviction on one count of Embezzlement, $20,000 to $50,000, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ incarceration. 

Chappell, 64, of Farmington Hills, for years misused state vehicles for personal use over weekends, holidays, and outside business hours, racking up unauthorized vehicle usage and mileage fees totaling $47,214.85 between August 2015 and January 2019. He had access to and permission to use the state motor pool vehicles, explicitly for work purposes, by virtue of his employment as an unemployment examiner with the Talent Investment Agency under the Department of Talent and Economic Development, now known as the Unemployment Insurance Agency and Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, respectively. It was expected Chappell would use the state vehicles to attend unemployment insurance benefit appeal hearings. 

Upon learning Chappell’s driver’s license had been suspended, the Vehicle and Travel Services and the Department of Talent and Economic Development investigated his vehicle use and uncovered rampant and flagrant misuse. 

“This verdict sends a clear message that stealing from the State, and thereby the taxpayers, will not be tolerated,” Nessel said. “My office will continue to investigate and prosecute misuses of state resources to ensure all public servants are held accountable for the responsible use of taxpayer-funded resources.”  

“We value integrity at the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency and we expect staff to be models of ethical behavior,” said UIA Director Julia Dale. “We have implemented ethics and conflict of interest policies, pursued bad actors who steal money from taxpayers, created a Legal and Compliance Bureau, and won national awards for our work in bringing criminals to justice. We won’t waver from our mission to serve Michigan’s residents with integrity and we will aggressively go after anyone who breaks the law while working for the agency.” 

Chappell is scheduled for sentencing on May 17 at 8:30 a.m. before Judge Mariam Bazzi in the 3rd Circuit Court in Wayne County.


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