Two Louisiana Democrats have been jailed after being convicted on voter fraud charges in Louisiana, according to reports.
Former Amite Police Chief Jerry Trabona and current Councilman Kris Hart were sentenced to prison for conspiring to buy votes and multiple counts of buying votes.
As Slay News previously reported, the two men pleaded guilty to the charges in July.
Trabona and Hart were sentenced to 12 months in prison each for their roles in the vote-buying scheme.
The two Democrats were caught paying prospective voters for their votes in a federal election.
Former Chief of Police in Amite City, Jerry Trabona, and Kristian Hart, a former Amite City councilmember, were each sentenced to one year in prison for violating federal election laws. Trabona was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. https://t.co/SsVWc2mUs5 pic.twitter.com/EPe4nL9y2d
— JangledKeys (@JangledK) November 30, 2022
According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, Trabona and Hart were sentenced to one year in prison Wednesday for violating federal election laws with their vote-buying racket.
Trabona, 73, and Hart, 50, each received one year in prison following an investigation, led by the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office.
Investigators uncovered evidence showing that Trabona and Hart worked to hire individuals to identify potential voters.
They would then transport the voters and offer payment to the voters – provided they voted in the requested manner, according to the DOJ press release.
Alongside the one-year prison sentence, Trabona was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
A third, unnamed conspirator was also sentenced to four months in prison.
According to The Heritage Foundation, Hart and Trabona were able to successfully buy votes by providing sample ballots with the desired candidate’s name and number.
The ballots were for Hart, Trabona, and other preferred candidates.
Former Louisiana Police Chief, City Councilmember, and Additional Co-Conspirator Sentenced in Vote Buying Conspiracyhttps://t.co/2es2xoYi5V
— Criminal Division (@DOJCrimDiv) November 30, 2022
In some cases, Hart paid voters to identify those who had not voted, take them to the polls, then pay for their vote, according to the Heritage Foundation.
To help cover up the operation, Trabona required that vote buyers sign a contract stating that they would not “make any overture of any kind to any voter or other person of financial award or benefit in exchange for a vote.”
The Heritage Foundation revealed that the vote buyers were paid up to $20 dollars for each vote they brought in.
A vote-buying bribe is considered “anything having monetary value, including cash, liquor, lottery chances and welfare benefits such as food stamps,” according to the DOJ.
The charges follow an initial 2018 investigation into violations of election laws in Louisiana, according to The Advocate.