Two Dominicans probed in Rhode Island vote fraud scandal
New York.- The FBI follows a probe by the Rhode Island State Attorney’s Office into alleged vote fraud from 2010 to 2012 involving political activist Generolisa Escobar and Erasmo Ramirez who calls himself "President (Joaquin) Balaguer’s former bodyguard." The two Dominican Republic natives are investigated in connection to fake voter lists favoring a District 21senatorial candidate.
The case stems from Senate hopeful Anthony Gemma accused rival David Cicilline of vote fraud.
Quoted by the Providence Journal, Rhode Island State Police chief Steven O’Donnell confirmed the information, and said the agency decided to discontinue the probe because investigators failed to obtain consistent witness corroboration to build a case against the Senate hopeful or against the Dominicans.
He said since in the aftermath of complaints filed with the state investigators found that certain activities linked to the 2012 electoral fraud had taken place in the Dominican Republic, for which the FBI conducts a separate probe in the Caribbean nation.
In a YouTube video in which Ramirez is talking to a member of Gemma’s campaign through an translator, the Dominican said he was part of “President Balaguer’s security detail during three months."
When asked in English if he was part of Dominican Republic’s intelligence services, Ramirez responded affirmatively and said Balaguer’s regime sent him abroad to study police investigations. In the recorded conversation he revealed having been paid 500 dollars per week to elaborate a "voting" list, as he had done with other area politicians.
The first allegations against Gemma arose in 2012 by from congressman David Cicilline, contender in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate seat from the Rhode Island District 21.
Escobar told investigators that while working for Cicilline ‘s campaign in 2002 , she was asked to make a list of voters would never go to the polls on election day and would be provided with money to hand out to voters who would presumably cast a ballot instead of the voters excluded.