Oregon Indicts Two Signature Gatherers on ID Theft

August 4, 2011 - There has been much coverage in the news media lately on the question of identity theft by signature gatherers, and discussion over whether it is a legitimate concern for potential signers. 

Following is the press release from the Oregon Attorney General’s and Secretary of State’s offices, announcing the indictments of two people on six counts of identity theft in connection with signature-gathering drives in that state.

 PRESS RELEASE
Oregon Department of Justice
Attorney General John Kroger

SECRETARY OF STATE KATE BROWN AND ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN KROGER
ANNOUNCE TWO INITIATIVE FRAUD INDICTMENTS

October 26, 2010 - Jason M. Towery and Christine F. Gwin face a combined total of 6 counts of making a false statement in violation of elections law and 6 counts of identity theft.

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown and Attorney General John Kroger today announced two initiative fraud indictments.

"I remain committed to cracking down on fraud and abuse in the initiative process.  All chief petitioners and signature gatherers out there should be on notice.  I have a no tolerance policy for fraud in Oregon's initiative system," said Secretary of State Brown.

"Initiative fraud is unacceptable," said Keith Dubanevich, Chief of Staff and Special Counsel to Attorney General Kroger. "Oregonians need to have complete confidence in the integrity of their elections."

Jason M. Towery (DOB: 11-30-1957) was indicted Oct. 26 in Multnomah County on 3 counts of knowingly making a false statement in violation of elections laws on June 19, 2010.  Towery also faces 3 counts of Aggravated Identity Theft.  The indictment accuses Towery of entering forged signatures on Initiative Petition 13, which sought to increase minimum sentences for certain crimes and ultimately qualified for the ballot as Measure 73; and Initiative Petition 50, which sought to change the legislative redistricting process.

Christine F. Gwin (DOB: 10-22-1961) was indicted Oct. 26 in Multnomah County on 3 counts of knowingly making a false statement in violation of elections laws on June 19, 2010.  Towery also faces 3 counts of Aggravated Identity Theft.  The indictment accuses Towery of entering forged signatures on Initiative Petition 13, which sought to increase minimum sentences for certain crimes and ultimately qualified for the ballot as Measure 73; and Initiative Petition 50, which sought to change the legislative redistricting process.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Eugene Ebersole is prosecuting the case for the Oregon Department of Justice.  A criminal indictment is merely an allegation.  Every criminal defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Contact:  Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 [email protected]
                 Andrea Cantu-Schomus, Secretary of State, 503-986-2368 or [email protected]

               http://www.doj.state.or.us/releases/2010/rel102610a.shtml

  

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