Former Congressman Pleads Guilty to Election Fraud

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Former U.S. Congressman Michael "Ozzie" Myers | Image by ABC 6

Former U.S. Congressman Michael “Ozzie” Myers (D-Pennsylvania), 79, has pleaded guilty to election fraud charges, including falsifying voting records and bribery. Myers admitted to bribing Philadelphia Election Judge Domenick Demuro to illegally add votes for candidates running for state and federal offices.

Myers and Demuro committed the fraud on behalf of fellow Democratic candidates. After Myers received money via check or cash from candidates who wanted votes added to their totals, he would share a portion of it with Demuro. The election judge for the 39th Ward’s 36th Division in South Philadelphia would then add fraudulent votes for Myers’ clients.

“At Myers’s direction, Demuro would add these fraudulent votes to the totals during Election Day, and then would later falsely certify that the voting machine results were accurate,” the Department of Justice stated.

Authorities said the fraud occurred from 2014 through 2018 whenever there were elections.

Demuro pled guilty in 2020 to conspiring to deprive people of civil rights and use his power and facilities to aid bribery. Demuro was scheduled for sentencing on June 30, 2020, but it has been repeatedly postponed, with sentencing now set for June 14.

Myers also admitted to conspiring to commit fraud with Marie Beren, an election judge for the 39th Ward’s 2nd Division in Philadelphia. Myers acknowledged that he directed Beren to add votes to his candidates.

Beren, a Democrat, pleaded guilty in 2021, but her charges are unknown since the details are sealed. She was scheduled to be sentenced on February 15, but the hearing was postponed to August 16.

“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 Jennifer Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in a statement. “Votes are not things to be purchased and democracy is not for sale.”

“If you are a political consultant, election official, or work with the polling places in any way, I urge you to do your job honestly and faithfully,” Williams continued. “That is what the public deserves and what the federal government will enforce.”

Myers was a member of Congress for only four years, from 1976 to 1980. He was expelled from Congress in 1980 when the FBI taped him accepting bribes from undercover FBI agents. Myers was sentenced to three years in prison.

“One thing you can say about Ozzie Myers: his values have long been out of whack,” remarked Jacqueline Maguire, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Decades ago, he valued a fake sheik’s bribes more than the ethical obligations of his elected federal office.”

“This time around, he valued his clients’ money and his own whims more than the integrity of multiple elections and the will of Philadelphia voters,” she added. “Free and fair elections are critical to the health of our democracy, which is why protecting the legitimacy of the electoral process at every level is such a priority for the FBI.”

Myers is scheduled for sentencing on September 27. He faces a maximum of 60 years in jail, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1.25 million.

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