Diebold Charged With Bribery, Falsifying Records In Three Countries

Diebold Charged With Bribery, Falsifying Records In Three Countries

Diebold, the leading manufacturer of US voting machines was charged with bribery, falsifying records in three countries China, Indonesia, Russia fined $50 M Image: Ryan McFarland @ Flickr

On October 22, 2013 US prosecutors filed criminal charges against Diebold Inc. Diebold (DBD) is best known for the major role that its electronic voting machines play in US elections. As part of a deferred prosecution agreement, DBD will pay $50 million dollars to the SEC and US Department of Justice (DOJ), to settle two separate cases. The DOJ criminal charges were filed in Canton, Ohio.

Civil charges were also filed by the SEC in Washington DC.  The charges include bribing officials and falsifying records. The case deals with DBD corruption in China, Russia and Indonesia, from 2005 to 2010. As part of the deal, DBD must also set up and keep a system of strict internal controls. A federal monitor will oversee the company for no less than 18 months.

 Criminal charges in 2010

This is not the first time that DBD has faced criminal charges. In 2010, the SEC charged the company and three of its former executives, with accounting fraud. According to Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, DBD’s top executives “borrowed from many different chapters of the deceptive accounting playbook.” The illegal accounting practices let DBD deceive investors and shareholders in regards to its earnings. The SEC said profits were overstated by at least $127 million dollars. The 2010 charges were resolved when the company agreed to pay a $25 million fine, as part of a deal with the SEC.

 Millions of voters using Diebold machines

Millions of US voters cast their votes on DBD voting machines. In spite of big concerns brought out during past elections, the machines are still used all across the US. In 2003, the acting CEO of Diebold, Walden Odell, was a top fund raiser for the George W. Bush campaign. A letter written by Odell was later made public. In it he wrote that he would help Ohio “deliver its electoral votes” to Bush. Matt Damschroder, Republican Elections Director in Franklin County, Ohio, was given a $10,000 check from DBD, just prior to the 2004 election. Many believe the 2004 election was stolen, with the help of Odell and others.

Are Diebold machines trustworthy?

DBD machines were banned in the state of California. Charges were brought against the company after it was caught placing unapproved software on its machines, just prior to the 2004 election. A former insider by the name of Stephen Heller, exposed internal memos from Jones Day, Diebold’s corporate attorneys. The memos showed that Diebold was aware that it was in breach of state laws, when it placed the new software into the voting machines. Attorney General Bill Lockyer later filed civil and criminal charges against DBD. The case was settled after the company agreed to pay $2.6 million. In 2006, Heller was charged with three felonies for making the memos public. He entered into a plea bargain with Jones Day, for $10,000.

 Time to kick Diebold to the curb.

Diebold is an honest company right? It’s a company that would never bribe an official or commit fraud or falsify voting records. That’s what we have been told since the early 2000’s. In the years since the rigged 2004 election, we’ve learned a lot more about Diebold’s ethics. There are pages and pages of documents that show a wide range of problems with machines. There is a good deal of evidence showing that DBD often does not follow local, state or U.S. law, when installing or servicing its voting machines. Charges of fraud, vote rigging and breach of election law have been lodged against DBD, in a number of states. Yet nearly all US election districts still use DBD machines.

Now we have even more proof that the company which is in charge of about 80 percent of US voting machines is corrupt. It’s time for voters to join together to put a stop to the use of these machines. During the most recent case, DBD openly admitted to bribing officials in three other countries. We would have to be crazy to think that they aren’t doing the same thing in the US.