Organizer of election-fraud 'audit' in Wisconsin was once convicted of felony fraud himself: report
Voter at polls during presidential election, using paper ballots. (

One of the volunteers who's leading a so-called audit of Wisconsin's ballots from the 2020 presidential election was previously convicted of bank fraud and mail fraud.

Peter Bernegger was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay $2.1 million in restitution in 2009, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Monday. The charges "stem from his involvement in getting people to invest in two start-up companies, including one that purported to make gelatin from catfish waste.

"That company never made any sales, but Bernegger told investors business was going well, according to court documents," the newspaper reported. "When someone asked him why he didn't tell investors the truth, he responded, 'They can't handle the truth,' an appeals court noted when it upheld his conviction."

Before launching his own citizens' review of Wisconsin's 2020 ballots earlier this month, Bernegger claimed in an online editorial that the state's vote-counting system was "ripe for election rigging and fraud."

"Here is the rigging I have found: numerous people showed up on election day last November 3rd in Wisconsin and were told 'you already voted' ...when they had not," he wrote.

Bernegger, who was released from prison in 2014, is now leading a group of six volunteers who've collected images of about 2 million ballots using the state's open records law. The group is reportedly using microscopes to examine the ballots — the same method that was used in Cyber Ninjas' ongoing partisan audit in Arizona, where the group searched for bamboo fibers to try to prove that ballots were smuggled in from Asia.

Gary Wait, who's assisting Bernegger with the audit, called him "courageous" for spearheading the effort despite knowing that his felony conviction would be reported by the media.

Nellie Sires, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said in a statement: "Peter Bernegger is a convicted fraudster who swindled investors out of more than a million dollars. This is yet another effort to create distrust in our election process and our democracy and won't prove anything we don't already know."

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