Developer Shalom Lamm’s voter fraud scheme in the upstate town of Bloomingburg was particularly “brazen,” said Federal Judge Vincent L. Briccetti this week at Lamm’s sentencing.
As part of the scheme to push through his large housing project, Lamm, his co-defendant Kenneth Nakdimen and others made it seem as if falsely reported voters actually lived in unoccupied apartments by placing toothbrushes and toothpaste in those apartments, according to report. (Nakdimen was sentenced in September to six months in federal prison.)
On Thursday, Briccetti sentenced Lamm to 10 months in prison, fined him $20,000 fine and ordered him to perform 400 hours of community service. He was ordered to begin his sentence in January.
Briccetti read a blistering statement, calling out Lamm for a “brazen attempt to corrupt the electoral process,” and brushing aside many letters sent to the judge vouching for Lamm. “Good deeds are not more important than the crime itself. What about compassion for your neighbors? This case is about the lack of compassion for your neighbors. Neighbors be damned. Why? To make millions,” the judge said.
The judge also brushed aside claims by Lamm’s lawyers that he took his actions because was the victim of anti-chasidic sentiment in the Sullivan County town. “You did not do this because of discrimination, but because the adverse economic impact was far more important than anti-Hasidism.”
Lamm and Nakdimen, owners of the Chesnut Ridge development, and as well as businessman Volvy Smilowitz, were indicted last December on charges of conspiring to corrupt the electoral process. The indictment read, in part, “The defendants hoped to make hundreds of millions from their real estate projects” in Bloomingburg. “When met with resistance rather than seek to advance their real estate projects through legitimate means, the defendants instead decided to corrupt the electoral process in Bloomingburg by falsely registering voters and paying bribes for voters who would elect public officials favorable to their projects.”
At the sentencing, Lamm said, “In 2014, my actions and the actions of others – attempting to interfere with the election in Bloomingburg – the good people of Bloomingburg deserve more than that,” according to the Times Herald-Record.