Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman Sentenced to Voter Registration Service Hours, Probation for Robocall Scheme

Judge Sutula ordered the right-wing fraudsters to do honest voting work in the same Black communities they "attacked"

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Jacob Wohl - D M, Flickr Creative Commons
D M, Flickr Creative Commons
Jacob Wohl

Noted political fraudsters Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl were on Tuesday sentenced to 500 hours of voter registration work in a low-income area of Washington, D.C. by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John Sutula.

Along with condemning the duo that tried to stymie Black voter turnout in the 2020 election with a multi-state robocall scheme, Sutula gave the conspiracy theorists two years of probation. Both will be required to strap on a nighttime ankle monitor for six months next year.

Prosecutor Michael O'Malley, whose office had been investigating Burkman and Wohl with Attorney General Yost's Robocall Enforcement Unit since October 2020, chastised the duo after their sentencing.

"These two individuals attempted to disrupt the foundation of our democracy," O'Malley said in a statement. Forcing the fraudsters to confront the same people they tried to swindle, O'Malley said, was an "appropriate" punishment.

The robocall campaign began, it seems, on June 23, 2020, when, according to the civil suit filed in New York in 2021, Burkman and Wohl sent a $1,000 check to a telecommunication firm based in Los Angeles.

"We should send it to black neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Richmond, Atlanta and Cleveland," an email sent from Burkman and Wohl read, referring to the robocall.

Another email was more direct: "Then we attack."

"Mail-in voting sounds great," "Tamika" told recipients of the call, "but did you know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be a part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts?"

By October 13, 2020, Attorney General Dave Yost was hip to their political manipulation, following a formal complaint by Marcia Fudge.

Some 67,396 calls were made using "Tamika's" voice, 3,449 of which were answered by someone or their machine, officials found.

Burkman and Wohl's actions were, Yost said in a video release, a violation of the Voting Rights Act. A lawsuit filed on November 22, 2021, hinted at the violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act as well.

At Tuesday's hearing, the pair expressed remorse, whether genuine or not.

"I just really want to express my absolute regret and shame over all of this," Wohl told the courtroom.

Burkman only offered that he agreed: "I would just echo Mr. Wohl's sentiment," he said. "I think the same."

Burkman and Wohl's robocall campaign wasn't their first run in with authorities. Wohl himself had been previously investigated for similar activity by the Arizona Corporation Commission and the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.

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About The Author

Mark Oprea

Mark Oprea is a staff writer at Scene. For the past seven years, he's covered Cleveland as a freelance journalist, and has contributed to TIME, NPR, the Pacific Standard and the Cleveland Magazine. He's the winner of two Press Club awards.
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