Vote now for Best of Detroit 2021

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Fraudsters Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman face $5.1M fine for robocall scheme in Michigan, other states

Posted By on Wed, Aug 25, 2021 at 12:03 PM

Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman were arraigned in 36th District Court in Detroit. - SCREENGRAB/36TH DISTRICT COURT
  • Screengrab/36th District Court
  • Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman were arraigned in 36th District Court in Detroit.

Two right-wing fraudsters charged in an alleged robocall scheme to spread election misinformation in Michigan and other states are now facing a potential $5.1 million fine from the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC alleges Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman made 1,141 robocalls in several key swing states in an attempt to sway last year’s presidential election in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The proposed penalty, if finalized, would be the largest fine imposed by the FCC for this violation.

The robocalls falsely claimed that voting by mail would result in people’s personal information being added to “a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts,” according to an FCC document.

Before a fine is levied, Wohl and Burkman have a chance to dispute the allegations.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged Wohl and Burkman in October 2020 with intimidating voters, conspiracy to commit an election law violation, and using a computer to commit the crime of conspiracy and election law. Nessel alleges the men made automated calls to about 12,000 Detroit and suburban residents in August 2020, targeting voters of color in an attempt to discourage them from casting mail-in ballots.

The robocall states: “Mail-in voting sounds great, but did you know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts? The CDC is even pushing to use records for mail-in voting to track people for mandatory vaccines. Don’t be finessed into giving your private information to the man, stay safe and beware of vote by mail.”

The men, who have a history of spreading hoaxes and outlandish conspiracy theories, are awaiting trial in Wayne County Circuit Court.

“This massive fine properly reflects the seriousness of the allegations these two political operatives face,” Nessel said in a statement Tuesday evening. “Mr. Burkman and Mr. Wohl allegedly orchestrated a series of robocalls aimed at suppressing the vote in the November general election. While my office will continue to pursue the criminal case against these men, I applaud the FCC for its action today.”

Wohl and Burkman have been removed from social media sites for making bogus claims, including manufacturing sexual-assault allegations against former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and former special counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. They also falsely claimed Elizabeth Warren had a sexual relationship with an ex-Marine male escort.

Stay connected with Detroit Metro Times. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Google News, Apple News, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Reddit.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Most Popular

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation