Conservative scammers Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman have been charged by Michigan prosecutors with multiple felony counts for allegedly orchestrating robocalls in Detroit and other cities to suppress the vote in the November election.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the charges against Wohl, 22, and Burkman, 54, on Thursday. They each face one count of intimidating voters, conspiracy to commit an election law violation, using a computer to commit an election law crime, and using a computer to commit a conspiracy crime.
The four felony counts carry a maximum of 24 years in prison and/or a $12,000 fine, according to charging documents.
In a statement, Nessel said residents in urban areas with large minority populations in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois also reported receiving similar robocalls. Her office said that around 85,000 of those calls were made across the country.
The Michigan secretary of state and attorney general first announced an investigation into the calls in August after a Detroit resident received a robocall "using racially charged stereotypes to deter voting by mail."
In the recorded robocall, a woman's voice identifies herself as "Tamika Taylor" from a purported civil rights organization founded by Burkman and Wohl. She claims that people who vote by mail will have their personal information entered into a public database that police will use to track down old warrants, and that credit card companies will use to collect outstanding debt.
The message also includes the outlandish claim that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will use the made-up database to "track mandatory vaccines."
"Don't be finessed into giving your private information to the man," the robocall says. "Stay safe and beware of vote-by-mail."
Burkman and Wohl are notorious for setting up failed attempts to smear high-profile figures for reasons ranging from sexual harassment to health issues. Their ploys are known for falling apart under minimum scrutiny, and the two have often been subject to mockery at press events unveiling said false information.
These latest charges against Wohl, a Los Angeles resident, and Burkman, a resident of Arlington, Virginia, were filed in a Detroit district court.
Nessel's office said it was too soon to determine whether the state will formally extradite the two or if they will voluntarily present themselves to officials.
Neither Burkman nor Wohl immediately responded to multiple requests for comment.