A Hoboken man that was indicted on the same day as long time politico Frank Raia last year has pleaded guilty to vote-by-mail fraud this morning, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Dio Braxton, 43, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini in Newark federal court to conspiring with Raia and others to use the mail to promote a voter bribery scheme during the 2013 municipal election in Hoboken.
Allegedly, Braxton and others, at Raiaâ€™s direction, participated in a scheme to pay certain Hoboken voters $50 each if those voters applied for and cast mail-in ballots in support of Raiaâ€™s city council campaign and a rent control referendum that Raia supported.
As HCV first reported in September, Raia was the chairman of the PAC “Let the People Decide,” which sought to loosen the city’s rent control laws via an upcoming referendum.
Braxton and others working for Raia provided voters with vote-by-mail applications and then either mailed or delivered the completed applications to the Hudson County Clerkâ€™s office.
After the voters completed mail-in ballots, Braxton and others working for Raia either mailed or delivered them to the Hudson County Clerkâ€™s Office.
After the election, Braxton and others handed out $50 checks to voters from an entity hired by Raiaâ€™s Political Action Committee, authorities said.
Before handing the checks to voters, Braxton and others working for Raia required the voters to sign declarations stating that they had worked for the campaign, according to court documents.
In reality, many of these voters never actually worked for the campaign and these declarations were merely a way for Braxton, Raia, and others to hide the fact that the voters had been paid for their votes, officials said.
According to the criminal complaint, Camis promised three people, identified only as voters 1,2 and 3, $50 each back in October 2013 in exchange for submitting a vote-by-mail ballot.
Then in November 2013, Camis, Braxton and others distributed checks from the PAC, written by entity 1, at Raia’s campaign office.
2013 was a mayoral election in Hoboken and Raia was running for a council-at-large seat.
As of this writing, Raia’s trial is still scheduled to begin on June 11th.
Braxton faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 10, 2019.