A trio of real estate developers are being charged with coordinating an elaborate voter fraud scheme designed to help them push through a controversial residential property development in a small upstate New York village.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, the developers—Shalom Lamm, Kenneth Nakdimen and Volvy Smilowitz—were each charged with one count of conspiracy to corrupt the electoral process. The men allegedly planned to swell the voting registration records for Bloomingburg, N.Y., with non-residents in order to artificially build support for a 396-unit townhouse project that would be marketed to Hasidic Jews. The development has been met with opposition from local leaders.
The federal charges state that Lamm paid an individual $500 for every fraudulent vote brought in, ultimately paying more than $30,000 in an effort to invent new electoral support for the project. The defendants are also accused of creating phony leases for the non-residents when the scheme was under investigation.
“When met with resistance, rather than seek to advance their real-estate development project through legitimate means, the defendants instead decided to corrupt the electoral process in Bloomingburg by falsely registering voters and paying bribes for voters who would help elect public officials favorable to their project,” the indictment said.
All three defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, they each face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
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