NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — On July, 21, the United States Department of Justice announced that the former Amite City Police Chief and the current Amite City councilmember pleaded guilty to violating federal election laws.

According to The United States Department of Justice, 72-year-old Jerry Trabona and 49-year-old Kristian “Kris” Hart pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay and offering to pay voters residing in Tangipahoa Parish for voting in the 2016 open primary election and the 2016 open general election.

Reports say “Trabona and Hart admitted that they agreed with each other and others to pay or offer to pay voters during contests in which the defendants were candidates, and in which federal candidates appeared on the same ballot.”

Along with the conspiracy, Hart also pleaded guilty to three counts of paying and offering to pay voters in the 2020 elections as well. In both the 2016 and 2020 elections, Hart was running for the seat he currently holds on the Amite City Council.

The U.S Department of Justice said that they are committed to making sure elections are fair.

“We must have fair elections, free from the taint of corruption, to ensure a fully functional government” stated U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans for the Eastern District of Louisiana. “Safeguarding the voting process is of paramount importance to our office and the Department of Justice.”

The two are scheduled to be sentenced on November 1 and will face up to five years in prison on each count.