Former Democratic Staffer For Philadelphia Councilman Charged With Voter Fraud Conspiracy

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Jorge Velasco Contributor
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Marie Beren, a 67-year-old Philadelphia resident and former Democratic staffer, was charged Tuesday with four counts of voter fraud and other similar offenses, such as conspiracy.

Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbitter Williams filed the federal charges against Beren, a then-staffer for Philadelphia City Councilmember Mark Squilla, Philadelphia Magazine reported. Williams alleged that Beren took part in a voter fraud scheme in various voting divisions in Philadelphia and falsified votes through 2015 and 2019, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Two Men Reportedly Charged With Voter Fraud After Forging 8,000 Voter Registration Applications)

Prosecutors allege that the conspiracy implicated Beren and another person of interest, identified as “Consultant #1”, Philadelphia Magazine reported. The individual is described as a former elected official who “held himself out as an effective and successful political operative capable of ensuring his clients’ electoral success,” according to the outlet.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Consultant #1 is former U.S. Democratic Rep. Ozzie Myers of Pennsylvania. Authorities charged Meyers with bribery after he allegedly stuffed ballot boxes to skew primaries for specific candidates in 2014, 2015, and 2016, according to Reuters. The election judge in charge of that case, Domenick J. Demuro, plead guilty after accepting thousands of dollars in bribes to artificially increase the vote totals for multiple Democratic candidates.

Consultant #1 “exercised influence and control in Philadelphia’s 39th Ward by distributing cash payments and supporting family, friends and allies for elective office in the 39th Ward, and installing Ward Leaders, Judges of Elections, and Democratic State Committee,” the complaint states, according to Philadelphia Magazine.

Federal officials allege Consultant #1 used Beren as a committee administrator for the Democratic Party’s division in South Philadelphia’s 39th Ward in 1984, Philadelphia Magazine reported. The same consultant in 1988 also used Beren to serve as a judge of elections for the same division. Philadelphia Magazine noted that officials had labeled Beren as the “de facto judge of elections” for all the divisions she served.

Prosecutors have not laid out how many fraudulent votes Beren cast or created and whether said votes impacted the results of an election, according to Philadelphia Magazine.

“The charges were made against Beren, not Councilmember Squilla,” a staffer for Squilla told the Daily Caller Thursday when reached for comment, adding that Beren had officially retired Sept. 10.

Court records state Beren is not yet represented by an attorney, according to Philadelphia Magazine.