|For Immediate Release
October 30, 2006
|Contact:||Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
Orange County District Attorney
VOTER FRAUD CHARGES FILED AGAINST TWELVE PEOPLE FOR UNLAWFULLY REGISTERING UNSUSPECTING PEOPLE TO VOTE
*Arrest warrants have been issued after a 5-month joint investigation between the Orange County District Attorney and California Secretary of State
SANTA ANA – Charges have been filed against ten men and two women for filing fraudulent California Voter Registration cards in Orange County. The California Secretary of State and the Orange County District Attorney conducted a 5-month joint investigation after receiving numerous complaints from citizens who were being registered and re-registered to vote without their knowledge. The following defendant were charged with the fraudulent completion of affidavit of registration: Daniel Bates, 36, Sal Castillo, 46, Christopher Dinoff, 31, Donahue Farrow, 34, Rick Floyd, 52, Jason Hayes, 19, Jason Holly, 36, Anthony Ogwo, 49, Daniel Ricca, 33, Jessica Sundell, 23, Don Williams, 45, and Susan Williamsen, 34. The maximum penalty on the charge is up to three years in prison.
In 2005, the Orange County Republican Party contracted with several petition companies and campaign coordinators to register new Republicans in Orange County in order to expand their party voter base. The companies and coordinators recruited solicitors or circulators to register new Republicans. They were paid $10 for each new voter form, as well as bonuses for gathering petition signatures on statewide ballot initiatives. This practice is called the “bounty program” and is commonly employed by political parties to gain new membership.
In most cases, the frauds occurred in front of grocery stores or large retail establishments, such as Wal-Mart or Target, or on the campuses of Fullerton College and Santa Ana College. The circulators are accused of soliciting shoppers and students to sign petitions, usually in support of stricter sex offender laws or lower taxes, and unwittingly obtaining a signature on a voter registration card. The victims would sign the petitions and a voter registration form, but would not fill out the information on the rest of the form. The defendants are accused of acquiring the victims’ personal information, such as addresses and dates of birth, by checking their IDs and forging voter party registration information in the victims’ name without the victims’ knowledge or consent.
The circulators are accused of then sending the forms to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, which processed the cards and sent notices to the ‘new’ Republicans. When the victims received the notice, they complained to the Registrar of Voters.
The Registrar of Voters provided the voters whose registration was switched with complaint forms and then sent the complaints and forged cards to the Secretary of State for investigation. The Secretary of State processed the forms and identified circulators, as the circulators had to put their own names on the forged cards in order to get paid. Their investigation ultimately revealed 12 defendants in Orange County who could be identified by multiple fraud victims.
The Orange County District Attorney’s office conducted over 50 victim interviews to determine the circumstances of the fraud. Each victim showed the investigators what information they did and did not fill out on the registration forms and identified the defendants in pictures.
Arrest warrants were issued for twelve Orange County defendants and seven arrests have been made.