Former Rensselaer County Elections Commissioner Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft in Connection with Ballot Fraud Scheme
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Jason Schofield, age 42, of Troy, New York, was arraigned today on an indictment charging him with unlawfully using the names and dates of birth of voters to fraudulently apply for absentee ballots for elections held in Rensselaer County in 2021.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Schofield is an Elections Commissioner at the Rensselaer County Board of Elections.
The indictment alleges that in 2021, Schofield unlawfully possessed and used the names and dates of birth of voters in connection with absentee ballot applications he submitted to a New York State Board of Elections web site.
The indictment alleges that Schofield applied for absentee ballots in the names of people who had no interest in voting in 2021; did not request absentee ballots, or Schofield’s assistance in voting or obtaining absentee ballots, in 2021; and/or did not know that Schofield was using their personal information. In some of these instances, according to the indictment, Schofield also took possession of the absentee ballots issued to these voters, brought the ballots to the voters, and had the voters sign absentee ballot envelopes but not actually vote; this allowed Schofield or another person to cast votes in these voters’ names, in Rensselaer County’s primary and general elections held in 2021.
The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Schofield was arraigned today before United States Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart, and was ordered released on his own recognizance pending a trial scheduled before United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino.
On each of 12 counts, if convicted, Schofield would face up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to 3 years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.