A former staffer for City Councilmember Mark Squilla was federally charged Wednesday with falsifying election results for years at a South Philadelphia ward where she served as a judge of elections.
Prosecutors said Beren and an unidentified “consultant” were involved in the voter fraud conspiracy. The complaint alleges the consultant “exercised influence and control in Philadelphia’s 39th Ward by distributing cash payments and supporting family, friends and allies for elective office in the 39th Ward, and installing Ward Leaders, Judges of Elections, and Democratic State Committee.”
Prosecutors said that around 1984, this consultant “installed” Beren to the committee for the Democratic Party in the 39th Ward of Philadelphia. In 1988, the consultant helped Beren become the judge of elections for the second district in the 39th Ward.
Prosecutors did not immediately provide details on the candidates for which Marie Beren, 67, allegedly falsified votes or say whether those ballots affected the outcome of any races. Court filings accuse her only of adding 10 to 15 fraudulent ballots per election. The allegations against her are tied to a larger case involving former U.S. Rep. Michael “Ozzie” Myers, who rose to prominence during the 1970s Abscam scandal and now works as a political consultant. He was also charged Wednesday with additional crimes linked to Beren’s case.
“Free and fair elections are the hallmark of our democracy,” Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer A. Williams said in a statement on the superseding indictment in Myers’ case. “As such, there is zero tolerance for corruption of the electoral process.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WITF.ORG
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