Hoboken Man Pleads Guilty in Voter Fraud Scheme

NEWARK, N.J. – A Hoboken, man today admitted his role in a conspiracy to promote a voter bribery scheme during a municipal election, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

According to Federal Officials, Dio Braxton, 43, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini in Newark federal court to an indictment charging him with conspiring with Frank Raia and others to use the mail to promote a voter bribery scheme during the 2013 municipal election in Hoboken.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Braxton and others, at Raia’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 Raia’s city council campaign and a rent control referendum that Raia supported.

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 Clerk’s office. After the voters completed mail-in ballots, Braxton and others working for Raia either mailed or delivered them to the Hudson County Clerk’s Office.

After the election, Braxton and others handed out $50 checks to voters from an entity hired by Raia’s Political Action Committee. 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.

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.

Braxton faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 10, 2019.

Raia was previously indicted on the same charge and is awaiting trial. The charge against him is merely an accusation, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, and special agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christina Scaringi, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Farrell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division.