MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Hialeah woman at the center of an investigation regarding brokered absentee ballots was offered a plea deal Friday morning at her arraignment but the deal wasn’t immediately accepted.
Deisy Cabrera, 56, is charged with absentee-ballot fraud and two misdemeanor counts of violating a county ordinance that makes it illegal for anyone to possess more than two ballots belonging to other voters.
Prosecutors offered Cabrera three years probation and full cooperation with investigators however Cabrera’s attorney Eric Castillo told the judge he would consult with his client regarding the offer because she didn’t attend her arraignment due to bad health conditions.
The case against Cabrera started after Jose Carrillo tipped off authorities that Cabrera was collecting absentee ballots from numerous Hialeah residences, according to the arrest affidavit.
Authorities said they followed Cabrera through Hialeah before she drove to Doral and went into the Miami-Dade County Elections Department headquarters. Police said they saw her submit a small stack of absentee ballot request forms.
Police then followed Cabrera to the Post Office where they said she put absentee ballots into the mail. Detectives later found a total of 19 absentee ballots that were copied under supervision from the post office, according to the arrest affidavit.
Police said Cabrera went to an assisted living facility to retrieve a signature from an elderly woman whom police described as unresponsive and didn’t answer either Cabrera’s questions or questions from the detective immediately after Cabrera left.
According to the affidavit, police said Cabrera was followed to five other locations which they believed were assisted living facilities.
Police then stopped Cabrera and found she was carrying a dozen absentee ballots that were signed, sealed, and appeared to detectives to be completed. The ballots were later sent to the Miami-Dade Elections Department.
Cabrera was interviewed by police and initially denied being at the Post Office but later changed her statement, before asking for an attorney.
Detectives later talked to relatives of the first elderly woman Cabrera visited and were told the woman can’t write, comprehend, or communicate, according to the arrest affidavit.
According to detectives, when they examined the ballot from the woman who was unable to communicate, it had a note above the signature block that said “The lady who is my sister signed this way because she has arthritis…it’s hard for her to sign. Thanks.”
Detectives said Cabrera illegally collected at least 31 absentee ballots for the Aug. 14 primary election.
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