Third man pleads guilty to Bloomingburg voter fraud
WHITE PLAINS, NY — A third and final defendant has pled guilty to perpetuating fraud on the residents of the Village of Bloomingburg. Volvy “Zev” Smilowitz peld guilty on June 19 in federal court in White Plains to a single count of conspiracy to corrupt the electoral process.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “In the biggest federal voter fraud case in the modern era, Volvy Smilowitz admitted to taking part in a cynical scheme to rig an election in Bloomingburg. There is no place in our democracy for the criminal conduct admitted to by the defendant, which included falsely registering dozens of voters. Those who conspire to corrupt the electoral process must and will be held accountable.”
Smilowitz worked with developers Shalom Lamm and Kenneth Nakdiman to commit voter fraud to elect officials to village positions who would help the developers with their goal of ultimately creating thousands of units of housing for members of the Hasidic community.
Lamm pleaded guilty in December 2017 and was sentenced to 10 months in prison. Kenneth Nakdiman pleaded guilty in June 2017 and received six months in prison.
Smilowitz will be sentenced in October and faces a maximum penalty of five years, though he is not likely to be sentenced to the maximum.
A press release from the federal prosecutor’s office lays out the familiar details. “Starting in 2006, Volvy Smilowitz, a consultant, and Shalom Lamm and Kenneth Nakdimen, real estate developers, sought to build and sell real estate in Bloomingburg, New York. From these real estate development projects, Smilowitz, Lamm, Nakdimen, and others hoped for and anticipated making hundreds of millions of dollars. But by late 2013, the first of their real estate developments had met local opposition, and still remained under construction and uninhabitable. When met with resistance, rather than seek to advance their real estate development project through legitimate means, Smilowitz, Lamm, and Nakdimen instead decided to corrupt the democratic electoral process in Bloomingburg by falsely registering voters and paying bribes for voters who would help elect public officials favorable to their project.”
The guilty plea only covers the 2014 village elections, but many residents insist voter fraud was also perpetuated in a vote about whether or not to dissolve the village and merge its functions into the Town of Mamakating. Lamm opposed the dissolution because it would have made it more difficult to achieve his development goals. Despite the guilty pleas of the three men regarding the 2014 vote, the dissolution vote has not been, and apparently will not be, reversed.