Election Fraud Cases
Keith Justice, of Pikeville, pleaded guilty to four counts of attempting to intimidate an election officer and one count of attempting to interfere with an election. The charges stem from the May 2016 state primary in which Justice, a licensed private investigator employed by Kentucky Senate Democratic Leader Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, falsely identified himself as a state voting inspector to both voters and poll workers, and claimed to be investigating election fraud. On election day, he ordered poll workers to provide written and audio statements, followed voters, and even entered at least one private residence demanding the names of voters the homeowner had driven to the polls. Justice was sentenced to home incarceration for 30 days, was ordered to pay a $500 fine, and was required to surrender his private investigator's license for a year.
Source: https://herit.ag/3x8Kvtl, https://herit.ag/3i8MVUm, https://herit.ag/3l325ME
Magoffin County Magistrate Gary Risner, Deputy County Clerk Larry Shepherd, and Tami Jo Risner (his ex-wife) were convicted of felony voter fraud for a vote buying scheme for a host of candidates in the 2014 election. An accomplice, Scotty L. McCarty, was also charged but pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and testified against the others. His testimony revealed that the group had participated in vote buying conspiracies in elections dating back to 2010. He also testified that Larry Shepherd contributed $10,000 and Risner contributed $2,000 to the vote buying racquet, paying individuals $50 to vote for their slate of candidates. Shepherd also revealed that in a 2010 election, while acting as a precinct officer, he added 60 votes to the total for a candidate, and Risner signed the names of those who hadn't voted to cover the discrepancy. The U.S. District Judge scheduled sentencing for December 2016, with the charges carrying a maximum penalty of five years.
Scott McCarty pleaded guilty to bribing a voter in the 2014 Kentucky primary elections. McCarty admitted to accompanying a woman into a voting booth to make sure she voted for the right candidates. Afterwards, McCarty directed the woman to another person who would pay her for her vote. McCarty is to be sentenced in May and faces up to a year in prison.
Ruth Robinson, the former mayor of Martin, Kentucky, was sentenced to 90 months' imprisonment on a variety of charges that included vote buying, identity theft, and fraud. With specific regard to the election charges, Robinson and co-conspirators James "Red" Robinson (her husband) and James Steven Robinson (her son) threatened and intimidated residents of Martin in the run-up to the 2012 election in which Robinson was seeking re-election. The cabal targeted residents living in public housing or in properties Robinson owned, threatening them with eviction if they did not sign absentee ballots the Robinsons had already filled out. Robinson also targeted disabled residents and offered to buy the votes of others. "Red" Robinson was sentenced to 40 months in prison, and his son James Steven Robinson received a total of 31 months' imprisonment.
In 2012, Michael Salyers, a former Brethitt County magistrate candidate, was sentenced to two months in jail, six months in home confinement, and ordered to perform 120 hours of community service for buying votes during his campaign. He admitted to paying people $25 to vote for him.
Source: https://herit.ag/3y7GZAI, https://herit.ag/3rAZtH8
Arch Turner, the Breathitt County School Superintendent, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, admitting to handing out money to buy votes in a 2010 election. He was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $250,000 for his role in directing a vote-buying scheme.
Three Jackson residents were convicted in a vote buying scheme in a 2010 magistrate's race where they tried to control the outcome of the primary election. Johnson and Young were sentenced to four months in prison for conspiring to buy votes and vote buying. Jennings was sentenced to two months in prison for vote buying and conspiracy.
Six defendants pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to buy votes in the 2006 Monroe County general election in favor of certain candidates. Gumm was sentenced to three years' probation with eight months' home detention and a $4,000 fine. Martha Hughes, Michael Page, and Corey Page were each sentenced to two years' probation and six months' home detention. Newport was sentenced to two years' probation, two months' home incarceration, and ordered to pay a $500 fine. Proffitt was sentenced to two years' probation and ordered to pay $1000 in fines.
Source: https://herit.ag/37iNKE5, bit.ly/2eVD58f
Randy Salyer, an operative in a vote-buying scheme connected to Magoffin County Judge-Executive Charles "Doc" Hardin, was convicted of two counts of vote-buying. A joint investigation by the Kentucky Attorney General's office and the FBI revealed that Salyer paid individuals $100 each to bring him their absentee ballots. He was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison, but amazingly upon his release Judge-Executive Hardin hired Salyer as an assistant, likely as a reward for not testifying against him, according to documents filed by the prosecutor in the case.
Source: bit.ly/2eAIM8F, https://herit.ag/3BPBUiv
William Andrew King pleaded guilty to illegally voting in the 2010 election. King, a convicted felon, was given four years of pre-trial diversion. A wrongful registration is a class D felony in Kentucky.
Wilbur Graves, a former judge-executive for Monroe County, was convicted along with Wanda Moore, Gary Bartley, and Ronald Muse in a vote-buying scheme during the 2006 Monroe County general election. Moore and Muse both reached a plea agreement with prosecutors, testifying against Wilbur Graves. During the testimony, Moore stated that Graves provided her $20,000 to $30,000 which Moore used to buy votes for Graves. She paid about 140 voters $40 to $60 per vote. Graves was convicted and sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, two years' supervised release, and a $5,000 fine. Moore was sentenced to two years' probation and a $400 fine. The judge sentenced Bartley to six months' probation/home confinement and ordered him to pay a $2,000 fine. Muse was sentenced to time served.
Source: bit.ly/2eVD58f, https://herit.ag/3rB1HGH
Chester Jones and Sherman Neace pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a vote-buying scheme masterminded by the two men during the 2008 election. Jones was running for the Perry County School Board and also served as chairman of the county Democrat Party executive committee. Neace, a former county judge-executive, was running for magistrate. The pair accepted $7,500 from the Kentucky Democrat Party to fund get-out-the-vote efforts, but instead used the money to buy the votes of 75 Perry County voters for $100 apiece. Both men pleaded guilty to mail-fraud charges for mailing false campaign-spending documents to state agencies to cover up their illegal activity. Jones was sentenced to one year in prison, and Neace was sentenced to three years of probation, serving the first six months in home confinement.
Source: https://herit.ag/3iM4vMU, bit.ly/2fiEzWY, bit.ly/2eoz1Ne
Eight defendants (including a former circuit judge, a former school superintendent, a county clerk, a magistrate, and a former Democratic election commissioner) were convicted of vote-buying, mail fraud, extortion, and money laundering for checking lists of voters to identify those who would take bribes and for organizing people to drive them to the polls, where complicit precinct workers made sure they voted correctly and gave them a ticket to redeem for payment. After a lengthy appeals process, and after all 8 had served 40 months in prison, their sentences were reduced to: William Morris - five years, six months; Debra Morris - three years, four months; Stanley Bowling - five years, six months; Maricle, Stivers, Adams - 100 days' home incarceration, two years' supervised release; Freddy Thompson - two years' supervised release. Charles Jones has not yet been sentenced.
Source: bit.ly/2fdA29C, bit.ly/2eezHBr, https://herit.ag/3zHOMpi
Hugh Melvin Perkins pleaded guilty to illegally voting in the 2010 election. Perkins, a convicted felon, was given four years of pre-trial diversion. A wrongful registration is a class D felony in Kentucky.
Robert Madon, a former mayor of Pineville, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to buy votes in his November 2006 election. He used his son to pay voters $10_$20 to cast absentee ballots for him in the election, even paying one woman $50 to leave town after her absentee ballot was refused when she told town officials she would not be out of town on Election Day. He was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison, two years of supervised release, and fined $4,000.
Source: https://herit.ag/3i9HEvX, bit.ly/2sADmlQ, https://herit.ag/3l22nDF
Brent Madon, of Pineville, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to buy votes after he paid voters $10_$20 to vote for his father, a candidate for Pineville mayor in the November 2006 election, using absentee ballots. He was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release, the first six months of which were spent in home confinement.
Source: https://herit.ag/3f4EZl5, bit.ly/2sADmlQ, https://herit.ag/3BOI42A
Stephen Ray Thomason pleaded guilty to a felony charge of registering to vote despite being a convicted felon. Thomason had been convicted of homicide in 1972, but only months later was able to register to vote. His status as a convicted felon was apparently "overlooked" by state officials. The son of Thomason's victim brought the matter of his illegal voting to the attention of the state. The Kentucky Attorney General planned to recommend a one-year sentence for Thomason.
Charles "Chuck" Hart, of Salt Lick, Kentucky, was found guilty of vote buying, obstruction of justice, and lying to federal agents. He bought votes during a Bath County primary election, and subsequently tried to contact and pressure jurors to rule in his favor. Hart was sentenced to 33 months' federal imprisonment.
Manchester City Councilman Darnell Hipsher pleaded guilty to conspiring to gain public favor by using city purchased asphalt to pave thirty-two private driveways, as part of a scheme to buy votes. He was sentenced to forty-six months in jail. He returned to the city council after his release.
An eastern Kentucky county magistrate, Johnson was convicted of buying votes in the 2002 primary. He was sentenced to 14 months in prison and forced to pay $10,000 in fines.
Source: https://herit.ag/3y8oXhr, bit.ly/2ueJnYp
Donald Maze pleaded guilty to paying four different people at least $100 each for their vote in the Democrat primary for Bath County Attorney. He was sentenced to 21 months in jail, followed by two years of supervised release and 200 hours of community service. Additionally, he was assessed a $50,000 fine.
Source: bit.ly/2ue1MoD, https://herit.ag/3krMMN8, https://herit.ag/3x7rp6S
Bath County Judge-Executive Walter Bascom Shrout was convicted of conspiracy to buy votes. He was also found guilty of obstruction of justice and making false statements to a federal agent. He was ordered to resign and was sentenced to 27 months in prison.
Source: https://herit.ag/3f28WCg, bit.ly/2ue1MoD, https://herit.ag/373gCzV
Former Manchester mayor Daugh White pleaded guilty to conspiring to gain public favor by using city purchased asphalt to pave thirty-two private driveways, as part of a scheme to buy votes. He was sentenced to eighty-four months in jail.
Knott County Judge-Executive Randy Thompson was sentenced to 40 months in prison for a vote buying scheme involving use of public funds to improve driveways and build bridges on private property. Judge-executive assistants Combs and Champion, as well as a former county magistrate, were also sentenced, receiving 36 months, 18 months, and 32 months, respectively.
State Senator Johnny Ray Turner pleaded guilty to "non-willfully" making campaign expenditures for the purpose of influencing voters and was sentenced to three months' home detention and one year of probation.
Source: bit.ly/2eAKMNX, https://herit.ag/3BPBFE7
Ross Harris was found guilty of election fraud for paying voters for their vote. He was spared a prison sentence because of a terminal illness.
Source: https://herit.ag/3zGwFjj, https://herit.ag/2VheWzX, https://herit.ag/3tVrla5
Newton Johnson pleaded guilty to buying votes in the 1998 Knott County primary election.
Phillip Slone pleaded guilty to vote buying in a federal election for offering to pay seven voters $50 dollars each for voting in the primary election. He was sentenced to hree years' probation.
Source: https://herit.ag/3f4rZvY, bit.ly/2fwnC07
Knott County Judge-Executive Donnie Newsome was convicted of conspiracy to buy votes and vote buying in the May 1998 Knott County primary election. He was sentenced to 26 months in prison and fined $20,000.
Willard Smith was convicted of conspiracy to buy votes and vote buying in the May 1998 Knott County primary election. He was accused of paying impoverished, handicapped, illiterate, or otherwise impaired persons to vote for Knott County Judge-Executive Donnie Newsome by absentee ballot. Smith was sentenced to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Source: https://herit.ag/2XLMGqR, https://herit.ag/3BPBIzN