PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WHTM) – Former U.S. Congressman Michael “Ozzie” Myers, 79, of Philadelphia was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to stuffing ballot boxes for Democrats in the 2014-18 Pennsylvania elections.
Myers pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to deprive voters of civil rights, bribery, obstruction of justice, falsification of voting records, and conspiring to illegally vote in a federal election for orchestrating schemes to fraudulently stuff the ballot boxes for specific Democratic candidates in the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Pennsylvania elections.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania says Myers 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.
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.
Officials say 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.
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.
“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 U.S. Attorney 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.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Pennsylvania State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Richard P. Barrett, Chief of the Criminal Division, and Eric L. Gibson with assistance from Richard C. Pilger, the former Director of Elections Crimes Branch (retired), Criminal Division, Public Integrity Section, U.S. Department of Justice.