Two right-wing operatives plead guilty to disinformation robocall scheme

A pair of right-wing operatives have each pleaded guilty to a single felony charge in connection to making tens of thousands of robocalls across the nation falsely warning predominately minority and Democratic citizens ahead of the 2020 general election that their information could be used against them if they vote by mail.

Ohio Attorney General Gave Yost said Jacob Wohl, 24, of Irvine, Calif., and Jack Burkman, 56, of Arlington, Va., pleaded guilty Monday to felonious telecommunications fraud.

“Voter intimidation won’t be tolerated in Ohio,” Yost said in a statement.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley initially charged Wohl and Burkman in October of 2020 on eight counts of telecommunications fraud and seven counts of bribery.

Prosecutors said the pair of operatives on Aug. 26, 2020, utilized a broadcasting service provider to make more than 67,000 calls across the Midwest, including 8,100 to phones in Cleveland and East Cleveland, of which some 3,400 were answered by either a live person or voice mail.

Those who answered the calls were met with a pre-recorded message that falsely warned them that if they voted by mail, their information could be used by law enforcement to produce old warrants, agencies to collect debt, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mandate vaccinations.

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