Election Fraud Cases
Shalom Lamm, a 57-year-old real estate developer, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to corrupt the election process. He had partnered with another developer, Kenneth Nakdimen, to use false voter registrations to assist in electing officials that would be favorable toward a development project of theirs. Lamm was sentenced to 10 months in prison, one year supervised release, 400 hours of community service, and a $20,000 fine.
Shalom Lamm's co-defendant, Kenneth Nakdimen, also a real estate developer from Monsey, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to corrupt the electoral process. Nakdimen and his partners planted items in unoccupied apartments to give a semblance of occupancy to falsely registered voters. He was sentenced to six months in prison in addition to one year of supervised release, 400 hours of community service, and a $20,000 fine.
Rus Thompson, a political activist, pleaded guilty to one count of offering a false instrument for filing. Thompson, a longtime resident of Grand Island, was evicted from his home and moved to Niagara County. Nevertheless, Thompson signed an affidavit falsely claiming to be a Grand Island resident and voted there in the 2015 primary. The terms of Thompson's plea agreement stipulate that he will receive probation, thus avoiding any jail time. Thompson is set to be officially sentenced on May 3, 2017.
Harold Baird, of Sullivan County, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to submit false voter registrations. Although not a resident of Bloomingburg, Baird--a former town supervisor of Mamakating, NY--sought to run for a village trustee position there in 2014. His losing bid for the office was part of a scheme with real estate developers to manipulate the election process so that Baird would later give favorable treatment to their development project.
Ana Cuevas, a campaign aide for Hector Ramirez, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after she and other staff went door to door tricking potential voters into signing absentee ballot applications. They then took the applications to the Board of Elections, retrieved the absentee ballots, and voted for Ramirez without the voters' knowledge. Cuevas was sentenced to conditional discharge.
Ernest Everett was convicted on three counts of offering a false instrument for filing. Everett was initially charged with second-degree forgery and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. The charges stemmed from Everett filing nominating petitions that he knew were falsified with the Rensselaer County Board of Elections to run in the Democratic primary for mayor in 2015. Three of the seven misdemeanor charges were subsequently dismissed. Of the four remaining misdemeanor charges, a jury found Everett guilty of three counts of offering a false instrument for filing. Everett received a sentence of 90 hours of community service, to be served through the Rensselaer County Sheriff's Work Program.
Hector Ramirez pleaded guilty to one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument. Ramirez, a 2014 State Assembly Candidate for the 86th District Assemby District, deceived voters into giving their absentee ballots to his campaign on the false premise that the campaign would then submit the ballots. Instead, Ramirez's campaign inserted his name on at least thirty-five of the absentee ballots. Ramirez initially won the 2014 race, but a recount determined he had lost by two votes. In lieu of jail time, Bronx Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett imposed a three-year ban on Ramirez running for office. Ramirez could face jail time if he runs for office in violation of his three-year ban. Prior to his guilty plea, Ramirez unsuccessfully ran for the same state assembly seat on numerous occasions, most recently in the 2016 election.
Frank Sparaco was, as his overseeing judge referred to him, a "rising star [who] has fallen very quickly, very far." A Rockland County Legislator, Sparaco pleaded guilty to eight misdemeanor charges for filing election petitions that nominated individuals to Clarkstown Republican Committee positions, while listing addresses that were not their true residences. In addition, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of furnishing false information by "renting" a room in his home so that he could register two other individuals to vote. He was forced to resign from his $103,000-per-year county legislator position and was sentenced to serve eight weekends of county jail time followed by three years' probation. He will be ineligible to hold political office during the probation.
William McInerney, John Brown, Anthony DeFiglio, and Anthony Renna pleaded guilty to felony charges, having forged signatures on absentee ballots during the 2009 Working Families Party primary. Sentences: John Brown, six months' imprisonment; Anthony DeFiglio, 100 hours' community service; Anthony Renna, 200 hours in work-order program; William McInerney, 90 days in work-order program.
Undercover New York City Department of Investigation agents testing the integrity of New York City elections were able to vote 61 times out of 63 attempts using the names of ineligible voters, known felons, and deceased city residents.
Fran Knapp, former Dutchess County Democratic Elections Commissioner, pleaded guilty to signing a poll watcher's certificate while unauthorized in 2012 and falsifying a treasurer's report for her husband's 2007 Poughkeepsie mayoral campaign (both misdemeanors). As part of a plea agreement, she agreed to resign and pay a $175 fine.
Debra Ortutay, former Rockland County Independence Party chairwoman, pleaded guilty to multiple criminal charges in relation to fraudulent petition signatures and perjury before a grand jury. She had signed ballot petitions multiple times and falsely claimed that she had witnessed voters signing them. Ortutay was sentenced to four months in jail and five years' probation.
Angela Gumbarevic pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a forged instrument for allegedly forging signatures on her petition to be a candidate for the office of Oneida County Sheriff. She was sentenced to five years' probation and 150 hours of community service.
Dominick Forte pleaded guilty to a felony forgery charge in connection with election misconduct as the leader of the Town of Cornwall's Conservative Party committee. Forte admitted to signing fake signatures on nominating petitions in a race for a county legislature seat. He was sentenced to a conditional discharge.
Vincent Sculco, Republican Chairman for the town of North Greenbush, pleaded guilty to forging a signature on a nomination petition for a 2007 election. The investigation revealed that Sculco may have forged more than 40 signatures. Sculco was sentenced to the sheriff's work-order program.