Former state employee gets probation for embezzling from Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency

A Farmington Hills man who embezzled almost $50,000 from the state of Michigan must pay back the money and will spend the next three years on probation after being found guilty earlier this year.

Rufus Chappell, 64, was sentenced in Wayne County to three years probation plus restitution to the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) after he was convicted last month.

Chappell misused state vehicles for personal use for years 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.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a statement applauding the UIA's work. 

"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."

Rufus had access to and permission to use the state motor pool vehicles for work purposes, as an unemployment examiner with the Talent Investment Agency under the Department of Talent and Economic Development.

Chappell was supposed to use the state vehicles to attend unemployment insurance benefit appeal hearings.

After 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.