County employee given probation for $300 bribe

May 05, 1992|By Staff report

A 75-year-old Brooklyn Park man was placed on five years' probation yesterday in connection with charges that he solicited a bribe while working for the county government's community development program.

Two months ago, William Lawrence Murphy Jr. pleaded guilty to soliciting and accepting a $300 bribe as part of a scheme involving an inflated bill for a contractor's work at a Severn housing rehabilitation project.

Yesterday, in county Circuit Court, Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. erased the guilty verdict and granted Murphy probation before judgment.

The judge placed Murphy on five years' unsupervised probation and ordered him to pay $145 in court costs.

The judge made his ruling after hearing several of Murphy's relatives and friends say they were shocked that an otherwise law-abiding family man had been involved in the bribery scheme.

With the help of a cane and one of his sons, Murphy stood and told the judge, "I'm ashamed. I let my family down."

Murphy, a "rehabilitation specialist," was arrested last November after the contractor told police that he had succumbed to pressure from Murphy to submit an inflated bill and split the amount overcharged, prosecutor Kathleen Rogers said at a hearing last month. Police supplied the contractor with $300 and watched as he gave the money to Murphy at a meeting last November near the Marley Station mall, Rogers added.

After his arrest, Murphy told police he had pulled the scheme five or six times in the past few years because he was "desperate for money," Rogers said.

Murphy was fired after his arrest, the prosecutor said.

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