WILMINGTON, N.C. (CN) – A federal grand jury on Friday charged 19 foreign nationals with unlawfully voting in the 2016 general election. A 20th defendant was charged with aiding and abetting at least one of the accused with fraudulently registering to vote.
A Justice Department release announcing the charges says the individuals are citizens of several different countries, including Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, the Philippines, Guyana, Germany, Poland, Korea and Japan.
The defendants range in age from 26 to 71.
If convicted, the individuals charged with making false claims of U.S. citizenship in order to register to vote, and then voting in the election face a maximum sentence of six years in prison, a $350,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
The individual charges with aiding and abetting efforts to vote fraudulently faces a maximum five years in jail, a $250,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
The cases are being investigated under the newly created framework of the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force in the Eastern District of North Carolina lead by Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, and assisted by Enforcement Removal Operations, and the Department of State – Diplomatic Security Service.
The investigation as to voting fraud is ongoing, the Justice Department said.