ST. LOUIS (KTVI)- A guilty verdict in the case of the St. Louis City Treasurer`s `ghost employee.` Closing arguments also presented evidence that taxpayers continue paying for fraud at that office.
Even Fred Robinson’s own attorney didn`t defend accusations that Robinson did nothing to get a weekly paycheck. We caught up with the accused ‘ghost employee’ after he was indicted. He appeared to be trying to justify that he was a real employee, working parking enforcement. We watched him for days, as he appeared to be doing little more than reading and sleeping in his car. The Feds indicted him for embezzling about a quarter of a million dollars from a charter school he ran, during a time he was supposed to be working for the Treasurer.
During closing arguments, Robinson’s attorney said they didn`t have to prove he ever worked for his government check. In fact the attorney described Robinson`s questionable work ethic as the ‘everyday course of business’ at the Treasurer`s office. She told jurors they could not convict because the Treasurer`s office is independent from the City of St. Louis and not tied to the Federal funds in question. The jury disagreed. U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan said this about the corruption. “We`re not in the job of every time somebody falls asleep on the job or doesn`t quite give a full day’s work, that doesn`t necessarily make it a crime. But this was certainly way beyond somebody`s imagination. This is something that went on for years and years,” Callahan said.
Robinson had no comment after the verdict. He sat stone faced at the reading of each count, guilty. He no longer works for the Treasurer. He lost his job after his old boss, Larry Williams retired and Tishaura Jones won election as St. Louis City`s new Treasurer. Jones has not returned my call asking for a response to the claims abuse continues.