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Politcal operatives charged with costly mistake

Amid the brouhaha that is a Presidential election year, our Michigan residents hear complaints of voter fraud and disenfranchised voters. It would seem that with all of the attention on the election process itself, that Congressional campaign workers would make certain that all the "i"s are dotted and the "t"s are crossed when working for their legislative leaders.

For one group of campaign workers, their handling of the petition process may have cost their boss his job. Four staffers of former U.S. Representative McCotter have been charged with forging petitions and faking signatures. Because of the allegedly falsified nominating petitions, Representative McCotter missed the filing deadline to be on the ballot in November. He is no longer running for office in what should have been an easy re-election.

According to news reports, the majority of the alleged forgeries were submitted or occurred in the day or two prior to the filing deadline. The Congressman needed 1,000 signatures and submitted about 1,800 of which all but a handful were allegedly either cut and paste copied, submitted with false signatures or falsified in some other manner. During the investigation, 75 people were interviews and 725 documents were seized.

These are incredibly serious charges and the staffers are facing real jail time if convicted. For example, a 33-year-old deputy district director was charged with 10 counts of election law forgery, one count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner, and six counts of falsely signing a nominating petition. The election law forgery and conspiracy charges each carry potential five year sentences.

Sadly, whether these four people are convicted or proven innocent, the Congressman is still unable to run for office during this election cycle. He instead has decided not to finish his current term in office sighting the past month-and-a-half as a nightmare for himself and his family.

Source: LSJ.com, "State charges 4 former McCotter staffers with forging petitions, faking signatures," Aug. 9, 2012

At our Lansing, Michigan, law firm we represent individuals who have been charged with misdemeanors or felonies of all kinds including so-called white collar crimes of fraud or forgery such as the accusations described in this post.

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