SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP)- A former Republican candidate for the state Legislature was ordered Wednesday to serve four months of a one-year jail sentence for his role in an election fraud scheme.
Enrico J. Villamaino III, a former selectman in East Longmeadow, also was sentenced to a year of probation. He was convicted earlier this week in Hampden Superior Court of 11 charges including forgery of a document, perjury and conspiracy to violate absentee ballot laws.
Villamaino and his now-wife changed more than 280 voters' registrations from Democrat to unenrolled to make them eligible to vote in the GOP primary for state representative last year, then forged the unsuspecting voters' names on absentee ballot requests, prosecutors said. The ballots were never mailed.
Villamaino's lawyer, Jeffrey Meehan, sought a lighter sentence, saying his client's political ambition and a fear of failure led to "a serious error in judgment." He also asked that the felony charges be continued without a finding, meaning they could be dismissed if his client stays out of trouble.
Hampden District Attorney Mark Mastroianni said it was important the felonies stay on Villamaino's record.
"This affected the integrity of the voting system and people's faith in the voting system," Mastroianni said. "Those guilty findings are going to have significant ramifications for his life as he goes on with his future job prospects, so I think the judge is viewing that imposition as a punishment in and of itself."
Villamaino's wife, Courtney Llewellyn, is also facing charges connected to the scheme. She is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 28.
Mastroianni said Villamaino was the mastermind and Llewellyn worked under his direction.
© 2017 Cox Media Group.