12/23/2010 1:47PM

One employee pleads guilty in rigged Louisiana horsemen's election

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Cricket Romero, a former employee of the Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, has pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft in a mail fraud case tied to the organization’s 2008 election. She is to be sentenced on March 24, according to a news release issued by the offices of U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

Romero, 50, faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years supervised release.

Romero’s hearing was held in federal court in New Orleans, where, according to the release, she admitted to conspiring with Sean Alfortish, who was running for his second term as president of the Louisiana HBPA, and Mona Romero, the executive director, “to rig the outcome” of the election. Alfortish and Mona Romero have also been indicted in the case, but pled not guilty and are awaiting trial in January.

Cricket Romero – related to Mona Romero by marriage – admitted to conspiring with others to identify which Louisiana HBPA members were unlikely to vote. She helped falsify ballots that included members’ Social Security numbers, according to the release, then traveled to different cities in order to mail those ballots. Cricket Romero flew to multiple cities on March 21, 2008, according to court documents, and 65 of the 76 ballots received from those cities in the 2008 election were postmarked on either March 21 or March 22.