U.S. Rep Joe Garcia’s longtime political strategist and chief of staff will be doing some jail time for organizing an online absentee ballot voting fraud scheme during the 2012 election.
Jeffrey Garcia, no relation to the Miami Democratic congressman for whom he worked, has agreed to serve 90 days as part of a plea agreement reached with the Miami-Dade state attorney, according to the Miami Herald.
“I should not have done it,” Jeffrey Garcia said in court of the charge of requesting absentee ballots on behalf of voters, according to the Herald. “I’m sorry, and I accept responsibility.”
The Herald reported:
Prosecutors tied Jeffrey Garcia to hundreds of phony ballot requests submitted for last year’s elections on behalf of unsuspecting voters without their permission. Though none of those ballots were mailed, forged or cast, Joe Garcia’s campaign planned to target those infrequent voters with telephone calls, fliers and visits to try to persuade them to vote for the candidate.
Investigators reopened their probe into the ploy in February after the Herald reported that almost 500 of the August 2012 primary ballot requests in Garcia’s congressional district could be traced through Internet Protocol addresses that originated in Miami. Florida elections law prohibits anyone other than voters or their immediate family members from submitting online ballot requests.
Requesting absentee ballots on behalf of other voters is a felony in Florida.
Jeffrey Garcia is also under investigation by the FBI for his part in an alleged scheme to take votes away from former Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla. in 2010 by promoting a tea party candidate shill.
Rep. Joe Garcia fired Jeffrey Garcia when the voting fraud allegations came to light. However, he paid Jeffrey Garcia’s firm a $25,000 “bonus” this year for winning the election.
Watch the CBS News report.
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