A Manhattan man’s “hobby” of collecting official absentee ballots in the names of celebrities, politicians and other prominent figures was uncovered by investigators — and though the ballots were never cast, he now faces criminal charges, according to court documents.
Authorities say Louis Koch, 39, fraudulently obtained nearly 100 ballots in the names of individuals, primarily prominent figures whose names were not released, according to a criminal complaint filed in New York Federal District Court. He was arrested and released earlier this month.
Koch requested an absentee ballot for himself for the 2020 primary and general elections — at some point figuring out that he could request more using names, birth dates and other easy-to-find personal information of “victims” without their knowledge nor permission, then have them sent to his mailing address of choice.
Koch requested 95 ballots between May and early June 6. When the FBI caught on, Koch told interviewers he considered it a “hobby,” understood that his actions were “foolish,” yet continued to request more ballots anyway, according to the criminal complaint obtained by TheWrap.
Authorities seized over 100 ballots from New York, California and Washington, D.C. at a June raid on Koch’s Manhattan apartment. Authorities say he also sent them to a house in Tenafly, NJ.
Koch was arrested July 8 on charges of providing false voting information and identity theft. He was released $250,000 bond under the condition that he could not order absentee ballots for himself or anyone else for any election. Koch’s legal representation could not be immediately determined.
Under the New York City Board of Elections’ current system, registered voters can request an absentee ballot by emailing the board and providing personal information including name, date of birth and zip code.
The New York Times was first to report on the situation.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.