November 3, 2014: Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has created a new task force that will investigate and prosecute all allegations of criminal activity during elections. The new Election Fraud Task Force is part of the office’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), and is comprised of ADAs and detectives who will be specially assigned to Election Day allegations. In the past the investigation and prosecution of Election Day crimes were assigned based on where and when the complaints came into the office.
“This Task Force is another tool for my office to ensure that all crime in Philadelphia is investigated thoroughly, and prosecuted swiftly,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “For far too long it has been assumed that Election Day in Philadelphia involves inappropriate actions at the polls. I want those assumptions to end now. The new Election Fraud Task Force helps guarantee that my office will not only thoroughly investigate Election Day complaints, we arrest and prosecute the culprits.”
“No eligible Philadelphia voter should be impeded from casting a ballot,” said Ellen Mattleman Kaplan Interim President and CEO of the Committee of Seventy. “The Committee of Seventy applauds the District Attorney’s Office for taking aggressive and prompt action to investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute anyone who engages in elections-related criminal conduct.”
“The District Attorney has shown a real commitment to making the integrity of elections a priority,” added City Commissioner Al Schmidt. “The creation of the Election Fraud Task Force will help Philadelphians be confident that elections in our city are conducted in a fair manner.”
Today, the Election Fraud Task Force charged 64-year-old Oxana Turetsky of the 1200 block of Unruh Avenue with Tampering with Records, Criminal Mischief and Tampering with Voting Machines. Ms. Turetsky is scheduled to turn herself in to authorities later today.
On May 20, 2014, police responded to a complaint at the polling location for the 53rd Ward, 13th Division of Philadelphia on the 6900 block of Summerdale Avenue. The Judge of Elections there notified police that Oxana Turetsky had written her name in ink on the voting machine at that location. Upon inspection, the officer confirmed that the name “Oxana Turetsky” was handwritten on the machine next to the box for “write in” candidates. Turetsky, a write-in candidate for committeeman, later admitted to writing her name on the voting machine.
In February of this year, the Election Fraud Task Force charged 65-year-old Dianah Gregory with Fraud by Election Officers, Tampering with Records, Criminal Mischief, and Tampering with Voting Machines for her actions during the November 5, 2013 election. Dianah Gregory pleaded guilty to Tampering with a Voting Machine in an open plea on May 27, 2014. She was sentenced by the Honorable Michael Erdos to fifteen (15) months of probation.
The investigation into Dianah Gregory began when the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office received a complaint on Election Day at the Ethel Allen School polling site located at 31st & Lehigh Avenue. On location, a candidate for “Judge of Election,” William Thompson, explained that a voter left the polling site visibly upset after Dianah Gregory reportedly entered the voting booth and attempted to make a “write in” vote on the voter’s behalf.
The voting booth was then examined as part of the investigation. The detective observed the name “Dianah Gregory” was written in marker on the voting booth. The name was scrawled next to the button to select a “write in” candidate. Still on location, Dianah Gregory admitted that she wrote her name on the voting machines, as she explained, for voters to know how to spell her name.