Four men sentenced in voter-fraud scheme involving forged signatures and homeless in LA’s Skid Row

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Four men have been sentenced in Los Angeles after they admitted to a Skid Row voter fraud scheme involving forged signatures in the 2016 and 2018 election cycles.

The signatures on ballot petitions and voter registration forms were part of a scheme by the men who secured them after allegedly offering money and cigarettes to homeless people in exchange, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release Wednesday.

(Image: PBS screenshot)

Richard Howard, 64, and Louis Thomas Wise, 37, pleaded no contest last week to the felony count of “subscribing a fictitious name, or the name of another to an initiative petition and registration of a fictitious person,” the DA’s office said. Wise was given a suspended sentence of 16 months in state prison while Howard received a suspended sentence of three years, and both will be subject to three years of probation,

In addition, Christopher Joseph Williams, 41, and Nickey Demelvin Huntley, 45, also pleaded no contest to one felony count of “circulating an initiative or petition containing false, forged or fictitious names.” They each received a sentence of three years’ formal probation.

Another defendant, Norman Hall, 62, was sentenced in February to one year in county jail, three years’ formal probation and 100 hours of community service. Four others charged in the large-scale scheme face charges including use of false names on a petition and voter fraud.

Three of those remaining defendants are scheduled to return to court on Sept. 1 for a pretrial hearing, according to prosecutors who also noted that the other, 37-year-old Jakara Fati Mardis, is still at large.

The group of none people allegedly offered $1 and cigarettes to homeless people in downtown Los Angeles’s Skid Row neighborhood, managing to garner hundreds of false, forged signatures on state ballot petitions and voter registration forms, promoting the investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and FBI.

Undercover officers had witnessed some of the transactions between the homeless people and the men who were part of the voting fraud schemes which were first reported in 2018, as the investigation led to evidence being booked of thousands of dollars in cash and lists of registered voters in Los Angeles County.

Democrats continue to deny the existence of voter fraud, dismissing warnings again made by President Donald Trump that recently about mail-in ballots. The president tweeted Thursday that “Universal Mail-In Voting” will lead to “the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” wondering if the election could be delayed. Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania news outlet’s “mail-in voting experiment” exposed the problems with the plan being pushed by Democrats.

Back in May, a West Virginia letter carrier was charged with attempting to commit election fraud by allegedly altering absentee voter requests.

And just last month, an elected city councilman and a councilman-elect in New Jersey were among others who were charged with voter fraud after hundreds of mail-in ballots were found in mailboxes. Many other instances of alleged mail-in vote fraud have also been uncovered in multiple states.

The president has been calling out the flaws in the system and warning about the dangers of an all vote-by-mail election as Democrats contend it is necessary due to the coronavirus pandemic. Former President Barack Obama even used the occasion of a memorial service for the late Rep. John Lewis to push mail-in voting.

“Even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations, by targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws, and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the Postal Service in the run-up to an election that’s going to be dependent on mail-in ballots so people don’t get sick,” Obama declared to a standing ovation in his eulogy.

Frieda Powers

Senior Staff Writer
[email protected]

Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.
Frieda Powers

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