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Prosecutor says Lowe paid fake employee almost $200k

7:48 PM, May 22, 2013   |    comments
Mike Lowe
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Prosecutors allege Former Knox County Trustee Mike Lowe cheated the county out of nearly $200,000 by adding an employee to the payroll who didn't do any work for the county.

According to a document laying out the charges, the district attorney's office contends the "larcenous scheme," began on March 28, 2004 when Lowe put Delbert Morgan on the county's payroll as an hourly field auditor.

However, the state alleges Morgan never did any work for the county. Rather, they say he was actually working at his own businesses; Celebrity Choppers, Morgan Development, and Real Estate Market, Inc.

The documents allege Lowe knew Morgan would be an employee "in name only."

Lowe was Morgan's only direct supervisor. The documents accuse Morgan of continuing to receive biweekly paychecks for four years. He was also paid two weeks vacation time each year.

In 2007, newly implemented term limits removed Lowe from the trustee position and he became chief deputy trustee.

That's when the state alleges Lowe engaged in a similar scheme with another false employee, Ray Mubarak.

The documents allege both Mubarak and Morgan continued to receive paychecks until March 2008.

Mubarak and Lowe were arrested in April 2011. Lowe was charged with six counts of theft of more than $60,000. He pleaded not guilty to four of the charges in May 2012.

Mubarak is charged with four counts of theft of more than $60,000.

Their trials are set to begin in early summer 2014.

Morgan is also charged with two counts of theft.

Two more employees, Rhonda Jan Thomas and John Haun were also indicted by a 2012 grand jury on theft charges in connection with the case.

All the charges are class B felonies, which can carry sentences of eight to twelve years.

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