In Miami, prove voter fraud, get a $10,000 reward

The Miami-Dade Police Benevolence Association hopes a plan to offer $10,000 rewards for tips leading to voter-fraud convictions will put the kibosh on phony absentee ballot schemes that have plagued Miami-Dade’s political races for years.

“We decided to do this because absentee ballot fraud has been in this community for years and nothing has happened,” said Blanca Torrents Greenwood, executive director of the group. “We thought, let’s do this to see if we get results.”

The announcement came a day before the Miami-Dade Elections Department started mass mailings of absentee ballots for the Aug. 26 primary election.

Absentee ballot fraud is a felony in Florida, but in Miami offenders often end up with only probation or little jail time, although violations have proven common in recent years.

In August 2012, private detective Joe Carrillo was hired to tail a 56-year-old Hialeah woman, Daisy Cabrera. She was videotaped visiting the building where Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s Hialeah campaign office was located, then some apartment buildings, then Miami-Dade elections headquarters before finally traveling to the post office, where she allegedly mailed 19 absentee ballots. After the tapes were handed over to authorities, Cabrera was arrested and later received one year probation.

Around the same time, Sergio Robaina, the uncle of former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, was charged with two felony counts of tampering with ballots. He also got a year of probation.

In 2013, the Miami-Dade Attorney’s Office arrested Jeffrey García, former chief of staff to Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, for requesting hundreds of phony absentee ballots on behalf of voters without their permission. He pleaded guilty, spent 90 days in jail and got 18 months of probation.

Read more at Watchdog.org.

By Marianela Toledo

Watchdog

Watchdog.org is a collection of independent journalists covering state-specific and local government activity.

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