LOS ANGELES – Nine men and women were charged yesterday with a dozen felony counts for voter fraud. The fraudulent crew allegedly offered cigarettes and money to the homeless on Skid Row in exchange for false and forged voter signatures.
Ballot petitions and voter registration forms featured prominently in the scheme.
L.A. Deputy District Attorney Marian Thompson of the Public Integrity Division said, “The charges include circulating a petition with false names, use of false names on a petition, voter fraud, registering a fictitious person, and voter fraud, registering a nonexistent person.”
Prosecutors said that homeless people were offered $1 and/or cigarettes for their participation during the 2016 and 2018 election cycles. The defendants were accused of engaging in the solicitation of hundreds of victims.
Charged in the criminal complaint are:
Kirkland Kauzava Washington (dob 7/29/80); Harold Bennett (4/17/65); and Louis Thomas Wise (dob 8/4/82) each face eight counts. A maximum state prison sentence of six years and four months awaits, if convicted as charged.
Richard Howard (dob 1/12/56); Rose Makeda Sweeney (dob 12/11/75); Christopher Joseph Williams (dob 5/2/59); Jakara Fati Mardis (dob 5/17/83); Norman Hall (dob 11/1/57); and Nickey Demelvin Huntley (dob 9/2/74) each face four counts. For a conviction as charged, four years and eight months in state prison looms large.
The arrest warrant for Case BA472537 was filed on Nov. 1st. Arraignment for five of the nine voting scammers (Washington, Howard, Sweeney, Williams and Hall) took place at Foltz Criminal Justice Center today.
$25,000 bail for each defendant was recommended by prosecutors.
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office