A judge in Ohio ordered a pair of conspiracy peddlers to 500 hours of community service to help register voters, after they admitted to being behind thousands of fraudulent robocalls seeking to suppress Black voter turnout during the 2020 Presidential election.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John Sutula also fined 24-year-old Californian Jacob Wohl and 56-year-old Virginian Jack Burkman $2,500 each. He further ordered them to do six months’ home confinement beginning at 8pm each day.
The pair each pleaded guilty to the felony of telecommunications fraud. The robocalls spouted false information about mail-in voting, saying people could be arrested or forced to receive vaccinations based on information they submitted in ballots by mail.
The duo were indicted in October 2020 on numerous counts of telecommunications fraud and bribery, accused of arranging for a voice broadcast service to make some 85,000 robocalls to predominantly Black neighborhoods in Ohio, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois during the run-up to the 2020 Presidential election.
Prosecutors said the pair was responsible for 3,500 calls to residents in Cleveland and East Cleveland. They are appealing criminal charges in Detroit stemming from a similar fraudulent robocall scheme targeting Black voters.
The duo have been sued in federal court in New York City. They also face a $5.1 million fine from the Federal Communications Commission.
Wohl told the court in Ohio he wanted “to express my absolute regret and shame over all of this.” Burkman said he wanted to “echo” that sentiment.