A Water Mill man has been arrested and accused of submitting two absentee ballot applications for his deceased mother, Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said Friday.
Wayne Tappe, 57, is charged with two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony. Tappe is scheduled to be arraigned in Suffolk County First District Court on Nov. 5.
Sini said the Suffolk County Board of Elections received two applications for absentee ballots for Lucille Tappe, of Commack, purportedly signed on Sept. 4 and Oct. 6. The BOE had been notified in June by the New York State Department of Health that Lucille Tappe died on June 16.
On Sept. 9, the BOE received an application for an absentee ballot from Wayne Tappe, who is Lucille Tappe’s son. In addition, the BOE had received an absentee ballot application from Wayne Tappe in March. The BOE referred the two applications purported to be from Lucille Tappe and the two applications from Wayne Tappe to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office for investigation.
A forensic scientist at the Suffolk County Crime Laboratory analyzed the handwriting of the September application and determined that it was written by Wayne Tappe.
“Voting is the foundation of our democracy, and we will not tolerate any violation of the election process here in Suffolk County,” Sini said. “My office is committed to investigating any and all instances of alleged voter fraud and prosecuting anyone who attempts to violate the security of our elections. Any Suffolk County residents looking to report suspected voter fraud can call my office’s Public Integrity Bureau at 631-853-8298
On Sept. 9, the BOE received an application for an absentee ballot from Wayne Tappe, who is Lucille Tappe’s son. The BOE had already received an absentee ballot application from Wayne Tappe in March. The BOE referred the matter to the District Attorney’s office.
Tappe faces a maximum sentence of one and one-third to four years in prison.
Sini praised the Board of Elections for diligence and its continued assistance in this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Carey Ng, of the Public Integrity Bureau.