Former United States Congressman and Philadelphia native Michael “Ozzie” Myers pleaded guilty in June to multiple instances of election fraud taking place over the span of several years.
Myers admitted to conspiring with election officials, particularly Philadelphia election ward leaders Domenick Demuro and Marie Beren, to add votes to ballot boxes in support of specific Democratic candidates in Pennsylvania elections from 2014 through 2018. The charges were first announced in a July 2020 press release by U.S. Attorney William McSwain.
"One thing you can say about Ozzie Myers: His values have long been out of whack,” Jacqueline Maguire, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, said in the press release.
Myers represented Pennsylvania's 1st Congressional District from 1976 to 1980. In 1980, he was expelled from Congress as a result of his involvement in the Abscam sting, an FBI-led investigation intended to expose political corruption. During the investigation, Myers was caught accepting a bribe. The following year, he was sentenced to three years in prison for bribery and conspiracy.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Myers had been working as a campaign consultant for local judicial candidates following his release from prison.
Myers paid Demuro, former judge of elections of the 36th Division of the 39th Ward in South Philadelphia, anywhere from $300 to $5,000 per election to carry out his schemes which included certifying illegitimate votes and lying to investigators.
Beren, former judge of elections for the 2nd Division of the 39th Ward, agreed to commit similar fraudulent acts for free. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, both Demuro and Beren pleaded guilty to their own charges in May 2020 and October 2021, respectively.
“Transparent and fair elections are integral to the proper functioning of our democracy,” said Michael Driscoll, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, said to the U.S. Department of Justice. “Those who seek to corrupt the vote threaten the public’s trust in the process and must be brought to justice. The FBI is determined to protect the integrity of our electoral system.”
Myers’ sentencing is planned to take place on Sept. 27. He will now face up to 20 years in prison.