A former Pennsylvania Democratic congressman has been sentenced to 30 months in prison after committing election fraud to benefit Democratic candidates.
The Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that Michael “Ozzie” Myers pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally vote in a federal election and deprive civil rights, voting records falsification, bribery, obstruction of justice and orchestrating ballot-stuffing schemes in Pennsylvania’s 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 elections.
Myers served in the U.S. House from 1976 to 1980 before being expelled for bribery. He was sent to prison for three years after the FBI launched an investigation into him.
Myers bribed then-Philadelphia election Judge Domenick J. Demuro to stuff ballots in support of specific candidates, according to a 2020 indictment. Demuro pleaded guilty that year.
Myers also confessed to election fraud conspiracy with former Philadelphia election judge Marie Beren, who pleaded guilty in October 2021.
“United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced today that former U.S. Congressman Michael “Ozzie” Myers, 79, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $100,000 in fines, with $10,000 of that due immediately, by United States District Court Judge Paul S. Diamond after pleading guilty to conspiracy to deprive voters of civil rights, bribery, obstruction of justice, falsification of voting records, conspiring to illegally vote in a federal election, and for orchestrating schemes to fraudulently stuff the ballot boxes for specific Democratic candidates in the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Pennsylvania elections. The defendant was immediately remanded into custody following today’s hearing,” the Department of Justice said in a press release.
“In June 2022, the defendant admitted in court to bribing the Judge of Elections for the 39th Ward, 36th Division in South Philadelphia in a fraudulent scheme over several years,” the release continued. “Myers admitted to bribing the election official to illegally add votes for certain candidates of their mutual political party in primary elections.”
“Some of these candidates were individuals running for judicial office whose campaigns had hired Myers, and others were candidates for various federal, state, and local elective offices that Myers favored for a variety of reasons. Myers would solicit payments from his clients in the form of cash or checks as ‘consulting fees,’ and then use portions of these funds to pay election officials to tamper with election results,” it read.
“Myers also admitted to conspiring to commit election fraud with another former Judge of Elections for the 39th Ward, 2nd Division in South Philadelphia. Myers’ accomplice was the de facto Judge of Elections and effectively ran the polling places in her division by installing close associates to serve as members of the Board of Elections. Myers admitted that he gave his accomplice directions to add votes to candidates supported by him, including candidates for judicial office whose campaigns actually hired Myers, and other candidates for various federal, state, and local elective offices preferred by Myers for a variety of reasons,” the release concluded.
“Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. If even one vote has been illegally cast or if the integrity of just one election official is compromised, it diminishes faith in process,” said Romero. “This defendant used his position, knowledge of the process, and connections to fix elections for his preferred candidates, which demonstrates a truly flagrant disregard for the laws which govern our elections. He will now spend 30 months in prison as penalty for his crimes.”
“Protecting the legitimacy of elections is critical to ensuring the public’s trust in the process,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Through his actions, Ozzie Myers pointedly disdained both the will of Philadelphia voters and the rule of law. He’s now a federal felon twice over, heading back behind bars, with time to consider the great consequence of free and fair elections.”