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Five Caribbean nationals charged for voting illegally in 2016 US elections

by: Caribbean 360 News - September 4, 2018
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Five Caribbean nationals are among 19 people indicted on charges of voting illegally in the November 8, 2016 elections in the United States.

They are residents of Guyana, Grenada, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The US Justice Department confirmed that a federal grand jury in Wilmington, North Carolina returned an indictment charging Sarah Emilia Silverio-Polanco, 35, of the Dominican Republic; Elvis David Fullerton, 54, of Grenada; and Olive Agatha Martin, 71, of Guyana, with making false claim of United States citizenship in order to register to vote, and voting by an alien.

If convicted, they face maximum penalties of six years’ imprisonment, a US$350,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following jail time.

Dieudonne Soifils, 71, and Merius Jean, 54, both of Haiti, meantime are charged with voting by an alien. A conviction would see them facing maximum penalties of 12 months imprisonment, a US$100,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any jail term.

Another man from the Dominican Republic, 58-year-old Ramon Esteban Paez-Jerez, was separately charged and pleaded guilty to a two-count criminal information charging him with passport fraud and voting by an alien.

According to the criminal information, Paez-Jerez in 1988 was ordered deported from the US and failed to appear for his scheduled removal. He assumed a fraudulent identity and applied for amnesty, and in 1989 was granted lawful permanent status under the false identity and in 1999 was naturalized contrary to law as a United States citizen. On July 7, 2007, Paez-Jerez registered to vote in North Carolina under his fraudulent identity; on September 16, 2009, he made a false statement in an application for a US passport when he applied under the fraudulent identity and failed to disclose his real name. Then on November 8, 2016, he illegally voted in the election in Wake County, North Carolina, knowing he had illegally obtained United States citizenship.

Paez-Jerez faces maximum penalties of 11 years’ imprisonment, a US$350,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.