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Former State Employee Sentenced for Using State Vehicles for Personal Use

LANSING – Last Friday, Rufus Chappell, 64, of Farmington Hills, was sentenced before the Honorable Mariam Bazzi in the 3rd Circuit Court in Wayne County to three years' probation and restitution in the amount of $47,214.85 to the Unemployment Insurance Agency after a jury found the former state of Michigan employee guilty of embezzlement in April, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

“Government workers must be held accountable when they steal from taxpayers,” Nessel said. “I applaud the UIA for investigating this matter and hope this sentence will serve as a deterrent to anyone who would embezzle state resources and promote the responsible use of taxpayer funds.” 

“The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency will aggressively pursue anyone who breaks the law while working for the agency,” said UIA Director Julia Dale. “We expect staff to be models of ethical behavior. We won’t waver from our mission to serve Michigan’s residents with integrity and have put in place strict ethics policies for employees and contractors.”  

Chappell 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.


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