Pennsylvania State Senator and Pennsylvania Democratic Party Official Charged in Vote Buying Scheme

Philadelphia, PA – A Pennsylvania State Senator and a Pennsylvania Democratic Party Official were charged in a federal indictment for their involvement in a bribery and fraud scheme related to the 2011 election for Democratic Ward Leader for Philadelphia’s Eighth Ward.

  • Lawrence “Larry” Farnese, 47, and Ellen Chapman, 62, both of Philadelphia, were charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and violations of the Travel Act
  • According to the indictment, at the time of the alleged illegal conduct, Farnese was a Pennsylvania State Senator
  • The indictment alleges that from May to December 2011, Farnese and Chapman devised a bribe scheme in which Farnese paid $6,000 to a college study-abroad program for Chapman’s daughter in exchange for Chapman’s agreement to use her position to support Farnese in the upcoming ward leader election
  • According to the indictment, Chapman had originally intended to support a different candidate in the ward leader election
  • The indictment also alleges that Farnese made the $6,000 payment using campaign funds and disguised the true purpose of the payment by falsely listing it as a “donation” on the campaign’s finance report
  • The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty
  • This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Jonathan Kravis and Peter Halpern of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section