Election Fraud Cases
Cheryl Ali, 57, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges: unlawful assistance in voting, and falsely holding the position of an election officer. In the May 2014 primary, Ali voted on behalf of her mother, whom she claimed was ill. In the May 2014 general election, Ali served as machine inspector at a polling place even though she did not live in that division. Ali was sentenced to one year of probation and stripped of her voting rights for the next four years. As part of her plea bargain, the felony charges against her were dismissed.
Myron Cowher and Dmitry Kupershmidt were found guilty of attempting to rig a May 2014 election in the private community of Wild Acres Lakes. According to Wild Acres Property Manager Robert Depaolis, Cowher approached him and asked him to provide Cowher with ballots that were due to be mailed to property owners in the community who seldom voted, for the express purpose of filling out those ballots and guaranteeing victory for Cowher's preferred Board of Directors candidates. Depaolis went to the state police, who surveilled a meeting where Depaolis handed over the ballots, catching Cowher in the act of filling out the mail-in ballots. He was arrested and subsequently convicted on 217 counts, including forgery, identity theft, and criminal conspiracy. His accomplice, Kupershmidt, was found guilty on 190 counts. Cohwer received a sentence of between 18 months and four years in a state correctional facility, and was ordered to pay a $10,850 fine. Kuperschmidt's sentencing has been delayed due to a change in attorneys.
Robin Trainor, 56, and Laura Murtaugh, 57, were each sentenced to a year of probation and will not be allowed to vote for the next four years after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges of election code violations. According to witnesses, Trainor, who was serving as the judge of elections at the polling place (even though she was disqualified from doing so as a public official), went into the voting booth with her husband and told him how to vote. She then stepped out of the voting booth, spoke to Murtaugh (who was serving as the minority elections inspector at the polling place), signed the election register under her 23-year-old son's name, reset the voting machine, returned to the voting booth, and cast a ballot in his name. Trainor pleaded guilty to two charges--failure to perform duty and falsely holding the position of an election officer--and Murtaugh pleaded guilty to failure to perform her duty. As part of their plea bargains, the felony charges against them were dismissed.
Eugene Gallagher pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges in connection with the November 2013 election, in which he was a candidate for councilman in the Taylor Borough. He unlawfully persuaded Taylor residents and non-residents to register for absentee ballots in the election using a Taylor address. Gallagher was the top vote-getter in the election and won his first term as councilman. With his guilty plea, Gallagher can no longer hold public office. A judge sentenced him to a maximum of 10 months in jail and two months of house arrest for both his election fraud conviction and a DUI conviction. He was also sentenced to more than five years of court supervision and 200 hours of community service.
The former police chief of Harmar Township, pleaded guilty to illegally soliciting absentee ballots to benefit his wife and her running mate in the 2009 Democratic primary for town council. Toney applied for the ballots, and then had them filled out illegally by individuals not expected to be absent on election day. The absentee ballot count flipped the primary results, securing a victory for Mrs. Toney's running mate. During the subsequent FBI investigation, Mr. Toney attempted to prevent witnesses, including two grand jury witnesses, from testifying. Toney was sentenced to three years' probation.
Michael Monaghan pleaded guilty to illegally voting in Pennsylvania.
David Patrick Duffy, of Doylestown, pleaded guilty to forgery, record tampering, and making an unsworn falsification to authorities in relation to falsified voter registrations. He forged numerous individuals' signatures on fraudulent voter registrations. Duffy was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay court costs.
Eric Jones, a former ACORN employee, pleaded guilty to a charge of submitting false voter registrations. Meanwhile, fellow Pennsylvania ACORN employees Alexis Givner and Mario Grisom, have also been convicted of registration fraud-related charges. Each was sentenced to two years' probation.
While an employee for ACORN, Jemar Barksdale falsified 18 voter registration cards. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 23 months of house arrest.
Victor Pinho pleaded guilty to a third-degree misdemeanor charge of unlawful voting. He had illegally voted in both Philadelphia and Lehigh county.
George Edgar Rheam, Jr. pleaded guilty to two violations of the state Election Code, perjury and false signatures and statements. He was fined and given probation.
Mark Cosentino pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful voting. Cosentino registered to vote, and voted, in his childhood hometown despite not living there. He was sentenced to six months' probation.
Linda Deren pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful voting.
Former Congressman Austin Murphy was convicted on one charge of absentee ballot fraud. Murphy forged ballots for senior citizens living in a nursing home, claiming merely to be assisting them in exercising their voting rights. He was sentenced to six months of probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service.
James Vadella, brother of former Carbondale Mayor Joseph Vadella, pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, as well as charges of forgery, conspiracy to tamper with public records, tampering with public records, and violations of the election code. Vadella conspired with his brother, Michael, to alter election results in a primary election in which he was a candidate by obtaining and falsely filling out absentee ballots. Vadella was sentenced to two months' imprisonment, followed by home confinement and probation.