A Memphis activist who illegally registered to vote pleaded guilty to felonies in 2015 has been sentenced to six years in prison for her crime.
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Black Lives Matter Memphis founder Pamela Moses, 44, voted illegally six times since she admitted to fraud, theft under $500, forgery, perjury, stalking, and evidence tampering seven years ago.
In fact, Moses claims that she thought her voting rights had been restored in 2019 and that she thought her probation, which lasted seven years, was over.
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‘I did not falsify anything. All I did was try to get my rights to vote back the way the people at the election commission told me and the way the clerk did,’ she told the court at her sentencing hearing.
Moses was accused of ‘tricking the probation department’ to obtain the right to vote illegally by judge Mark Ward.
Ward told Moses: ‘You tricked the probation department into giving you documents saying you were off probation. After you were convicted of a felony in 2015, you voted six times as a convicted felon.’
Moses, however, maintains she was never told she couldn’t vote when she pleaded guilty to the crime in 2015.
She found out in 2019 that she was still on probation while running for mayor. She visited a probation officer to ensure her probation was correct after a judge confirmed it. Following this, the officer gave her a certificate of completion, which she presented to receive her right to vote.
Last year Moses told reporters: ‘They never mentioned anything about voting. They never mentioned anything about not voting, being able to vote…none of that.’
Memphis officials never received paperwork to take her off the rolls at the time, it was reported. Tennessee authorities were supposed to send the papers.
She was made aware of the problem in 2019 when she applied for the Memphis mayor’s race and was rejected due to her felonies. It was only then that officials realized she had never been removed from the voter registration lists.
Following that, the musician and activist went to court to see if she was still on probation. In the probation office, she requested confirmation of her sentence as she was concerned it was too long, and the officer signed a certificate terminating her probation.
According to reports, a corrections officer wrote a letter to an election official stating Moses was ineligible to vote because she had not completed her probation.
As prosecutors testified at her trial, Moses knew she was ineligible when she submitted the certificate, since a judge recently informed her she was on probation.
‘Even knowing that order denied her expiration of sentence, Pamela Moses submitted that form with her application for voter registration and signed an oath as to the accuracy of the information submitted,’ prosecutors stated. ‘Pamela Moses knowingly made or consented to a false entry on her permanent registration.’
She now claims that she was ‘convicted of altering a document that I didn’t even sign,’ it was reported.
‘I did not falsify anything. All I did was try to get my rights to vote back the way the people at the election commission told me and the way the clerk did,’ Moses said last month
Moses was charged with falsifying her probation end date.
According to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, there are ‘two sentencing systems’ in the United States, as similar cases have received only probation for voter fraud.
‘Those who intentionally committed voter fraud, they are sentenced to probation,’ Legal Defense Fund spokesperson Janai Nelson said on MSNBC on Saturday.
‘There are two criminal justice systems, two sentencing systems when it comes to these issues and you could not ask for a more stark contrast about justice in our country.’
Moses is expected to appeal the decision after being in custody since December 10.
Last week, The California Department of Justice issued a letter to BLM claiming the charity hadn’t submitted its annual financial reports and that it was delinquent.
‘An organization that is delinquent, suspended or revoked is not in good standing and is prohibited from engaging in conduct for which registration is required, including soliciting or disbursing charitable funds,’ the letter explains.
BLM’s annual fee report and its IRS tax forms for 2020 have been requested by the DOJ within two months.
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The organization’s charity exemption status will be revoked if these documents are not submitted. In addition, it may be fined for ‘each month or partial month for which the report(s) are delinquent.’
According to the letter obtained by the Washington Examiner, ‘directors, trustees, officers and return preparers’ will be ‘personally liable’ for ‘all penalties, interest and other costs incurred to restore exempt status’. According to the Department of Justice, ‘charitable assets cannot be used to pay these avoidable costs.’
The announcement comes only days after it emerged that BLM hasn’t had a financial officer since co-founder Patrisse Cullors left last May.
All three of the organization’s founding members — Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi — have left. It is not clear who is in charge of the activist group at this time.