Former City Resident Found Guilty of Voter Registration Fraud
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 12, 2017
On January 12, 2017, Vafalay Massaquoi, a 30-year-old resident of Alexandria, Va., was convicted of felony counts relating to the intentional falsifying of Virginia Voter Registration Applications. Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Cathryn F. Evans prosecuted the matter on behalf of the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney.
The Commonwealth's evidence established that Massaquoi, while employed by a local advocacy group seeking to register new voters, fabricated applications for voter registration. Specifically, he forged a number of voter registration forms by inventing applicants. These false applications were then filed with the Alexandria Office of the General Registrar, who brought the matter to the attention of the Commonwealth's Attorney as required by law.
Massaquoi pleaded guilty to three felony counts: two counts of forging a public record and one count of election fraud. Massaquoi was sentenced to serve 5 years in prison on each charge, with all but time already served suspended for the period of 5 years and upon the conditions that he remain of uniform good behavior, that he comply with Adult Probation and that he complete 500 hours of community service.
The sentences were run concurrently to one another, meaning that the total sentence imposed in this case was 5 years in prison, with all but time already served suspended. Massaquoi has served approximately 90 days in jail.
Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter said: "These convictions illustrate my resolve with regards to protecting our society's democratic freedoms. Allegations of electoral fraud will be zealously investigated and, where evidence of wrongdoing is found, prosecuted. Any use of fraud, forgery or subterfuge with regards to voter registration is a very serious matter that deserves a very serious sentence - such as the one obtained in this case. Offenses related to electoral fraud can degrade the confidence we as citizens justly have in our system of elections."
"Advocacy groups that seek to register members of under-represented communities or to encourage people to exercise the franchise do important work and deserve credit for their efforts. However, given how important the voting process is to a democratic system, these groups must inculcate a culture of checks and balances that ensures their employees always act in a manner above reproach."
"In this case, since the fraudulent applications involved fictitious people, had the fraud not been uncovered the risk of actual fraudulent votes being cast was very low. The investigation failed to reveal the casting of any fraudulent ballots as a result of this scheme."
"I wish to thank Anna Leider, Alexandria's General Registrar, and her staff for uncovering the scheme and bringing it to my attention. I also would like to thank Officer John Brattelli and Sergeant Dan Gordon of the Alexandria Police Department for their efforts in investigating this important case."