Texas woman jailed for five years for 'accidental' voter fraud


Crystal Mason, 43, illegally voted in the 2016 presidential election, a district judge in Tarrant County ruled.

Mason had been on supervised release for a conviction of conspiracy to defraud the government in 2011.

Texas law prohibits felons from voting until they complete their full sentence, including supervised release.

"I find it incredible that the government feels she made this up", her attorney, J. Warren St. John told the court, according to the Star-Telegram. Her defense was that no one ever told her she couldn't vote because of her conviction.

Mason told the judge that she regretted committing the tax fraud crime and she was happy being home to see her children.

Mason admitted in court this week that she didn't read the affidavit carefully but blamed others, including election workers and her supervision officers, saying they'd never told her she couldn't vote. She said Mason made the choice to vote even though there were safeguards in place to keep her from illegally voting. Ortega also faces possible deportation after she completes her sentence. Mason testified Wednesday that she has remade herself since her release from prison, including getting a degree in a new field and getting a new job.

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Mason, who served three years in prison for fraud, said she was provided a provisional ballot-after signing an affidavit-at the place she typically goes to vote and that had she known the risks involved, she would have never risked her freedom by casting the ballot. "I was trying to get more money back for my clients". I took accountability for that.

In 2011, Mason pleaded guilty to fraud charges stemming from a tax preparation company that she owned with her husband, according to reports. "My son is about to graduate", she told the prosecutor in court. Mason says she had no idea she was ineligible, but Gonzalez pointed out that an affidavit at the top of the provisional ballot notes that people on supervised release can't vote. Why would I jeopardize that?

"I didn't even want to go vote", she claimed. Both women voted in Tarrant County.

It is estimated that more than six million convicted United States men and women were prohibited from voting in 2016.

She is not the first woman in Tarrant County to be sent to prison for illegal voting. "The judge set her sentence after hearing all the facts of the case".