Two conservatives accused in a bogus robocall scheme have pleaded guilty

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Two right-wing operatives pleaded guilty Monday in Cleveland to a single felony count of wire fraud for placing thousands of bogus robocalls in Ohio telling people they could be arrested or forced to get vaccinated based on information they provided during mail-in voting. .

Jacob Wohl, 24, of Irvine, Calif., and Jack Berkman, 56, of Arlington, Va., could each receive a year in prison when they are sentenced Nov. 29 in common pleas court. In October 2020, they were indicted on multiple counts of telecommunications fraud and bribery.

Volya’s lawyer, Mark Vechorek, refused to comment on his client’s request. Berkman’s attorney, Brian Joslin, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

The two men were accused of setting up a voicemail service to make about 85,000 robocalls to predominantly black areas in Ohio, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois in the run-up to the 2020 general election. Prosecutors said they were responsible for 3,500 calls to Cleveland and East Cleveland residents.

Cuyahoga County District Attorney Michael O’Malley said at the time the pair were charged that they “clearly violated that right in a clear attempt to suppress the vote and undermine the integrity of this election.”

The calls warned people that the information included in their mailed ballots could be used by law enforcement to execute arrest warrants, to collect outstanding debts and to track mandatory vaccines by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Voll and Berkman have a history of orchestrating hoaxes and spreading false smears against Democrats and government officials.

The Associated Press reported in May 2019 that a 21-year-old college student from Michigan said the men recruited him to falsely claim he had been raped by then-Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and published the smear without the student’s permission.

Voll denied the accusation, saying the student approached him. Berkman said on Twitter that he believed the student’s initial account of the alleged assault to be “accurate and true.”

There were men sued in federal court in New York and face levied a fine of $5.1 million Federal Communications Commission. Woll and Burkman are appealing criminal cases have been initiated against them in Detroit as a result of a similar bogus robocall scheme targeting black voters.

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