Pair pleads guilty to defrauding KC Election Board
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Two Gladstone residents pleaded guilty to voter fraud charges on Friday according to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. John C. Moretina, 60, and Clara M. Moretina, 61, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor class three election offenses.
The pair attempted to vote in primary and general election involving Clara Moretina’s nephew, Johnny Rizzo, in what was the 40th voting district located in Kansas City, Jackson County.
They were not entitled to vote in that election as residents of Gladstone, Mo. in Clay County. Rizzo was running for that district’s Missouri House of Representatives seat and currently holds it, though it is now known at District 19.
The plea agreement mandates that they pay a fine of $250 and they will not be eligible to vote again after willfully deceiving the Kansas City Board of Election officials.
“Justice was done. These two will never vote again,” Baker said.
When interviewed by FBI agents in May of 2012, Clara Moretina said that she and her husband had moved their daughter’s residence at the 500 block of Holmes St. in Kansas City to get help in caring for Mr. Moretina. She said they did not have proof of residency on Holmes and continued paying utilities at their residence in Gladstone.
John Moretina initially pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in July of 2010 to voter fraud by using a false address. The guilty plea prompted the Kansas City Police Department to open a local investigation.
“I appreciate the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office’s thoroughness and responsiveness in working with my office. This case sends a clear warning to anyone that would consider trying to hurt the integrity of our elections: We have zero tolerance for voter fraud in Missouri,” Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander said.