LOS ANGELES—Four people pleaded guilty to a voter fraud charges in a Skid Row scheme, officials announced on Wednesday, July 29.
According the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, four men admitted to offering money and cigarettes to homeless people on Skid Row “in exchange for false and forged signatures on ballot petitions and voter registration forms.”
Richard Howard and Louis Thomas Wise were charged with one count each of “subscribing a fictitious name, or the name of another to an initiative petition, and registration of a fictitious person.” They pleaded no contest to the charges on July 24.
Howard received a “suspended sentence” of three years in state prison and three years of formal probation. A suspended sentence, the DA’s Office said, “may be imposed if a defendant violates the terms of his or her probation.”
Wise also received a suspended sentence of 16 months in state prison and three years of formal probation.
Christopher Joseph Williams and Nickey Demelvin Huntley also pleaded no contest to one count each of “circulating an initiative or petition containing false, forged or fictitious name.”
Both Williams and Huntley were sentenced to three years of formal probation.
In February, another defendant in the case pleaded guilty to one count of “circulating a petition with false names.” Normal Hall, 62, was immediately sentenced to “one year in county jail, placed on formal probation for three years and must complete 100 hours of community service,” the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced on February 19.
There are still four other unnamed defendants in the case. They allegedly offered $1 and/or cigarettes in exchange for collecting false and/or forged signatures on state ballot petitions and voter registration forms.
The indictment indicates the crimes occurred during the 2016 and 2018 election cycles. The defendants are charged with using false names on a petition and voter fraud.
One of the remaining defendants — Jakara Fati Mardis, 37, is still at large. The other three defendants will return to court on September 1 for a pretrial hearing.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI’s Los Angeles Office Field. Deputy District Attorney Marian Thompson of the Public Integrity Division is prosecuting the case.