SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP)- A former East Longmeadow selectman pleaded guilty Monday to charges in an absentee ballot fraud scheme prosecutors said was designed to boost his chances in a 2012 Republican primary race for the Legislature.
The Springfield Republican reports Enrico "Jack" Villamaino told Hampden Superior Court Judge Mary Lou Rup he hoped for some leniency when he is sentenced Wednesday on charges including forgery of a document, perjury and conspiracy to violate absentee ballot laws.
Villamaino was running against an opponent for the GOP state House nomination when officials discovered an unusual number of absentee ballots had been requested in East Longmeadow.
Prosecutors said Villamaino and his now-wife changed more than 280 voters' registrations to make them eligible to vote in the GOP primary, then forged the unsuspecting voters' names on absentee ballot requests. None of the ballots were mailed out.
Villamaino's lawyer, Jeffrey Meehan, said political ambition and a fear of failure led his client to "a serious error in judgment." Meehan asked that Villamaino be sentenced to four months in jail.
District Attorney Mark Mastroianni said the crimes were an "extraordinarily serious offense" and asked that Villamaino serve a year in jail.
Villamaino's wife, Courtney Llewellyn, also appeared in court Monday on charges related to the scheme. Her case was continued to Aug. 28 for a final pre-trial conference.
Mastroianni said Villamaino was the mastermind, and Llewellyn worked under his direction.
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