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Pro-Trump activist in The Villages faces voter fraud, forgery charges

File photo

A pro-Trump activist in The Villages is facing felony charges alleging that he forged his father's signature on a vote-by-mail ballot after his father's death in October 2020.

Robert Rivernider Jr. came to Wildwood in May 2020 on a compassionate release from federal prison. He had served more than half of a 12-year sentence for several counts of conspiracy and wire fraud in connection with two alleged investment schemes.

The 58-year-old is still under federal supervision and must pay $400 dollars a month toward $22 million in restitution, according to court documents.

In August of this year, the Sumter County Supervisor of Elections Office filed a complaint with the State Attorney's Office reporting that, in the 2020 General Election, the vote-by-mail ballot assigned to Rivernider's father had been postmarked four days after his death. He died of COVID-19 on Oct. 19, 2020.

Elections officials also found that the signature on Rivernider Sr.'s ballot matched, not his own, but the son's signature. Fifth Circuit Chief Assistant State Attorney Walter Forgie said prosecutors also had a handwriting expert examine ballot.

Robert Henry Rivernider Jr. is shown in a mug shot from the Sumter County Sheriff's Office. He was wearing a "Born to Ride for 45" T-shirt at the time.
Mug shot
Sumter County Sheriff's Office
Robert Henry Rivernider Jr. is shown in a mug shot from the Sumter County Sheriff's Office. At the time, he was wearing a "Born to Ride for 45" T-shirt.

Rivernider was arrested Friday on charges of forgery and voter fraud. Bail was set at $10,000, and he left the Sumter County jail Saturday afternoon, according to online records.

Efforts to reach Rivernider on Wednesday were unsuccessful. But in speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, he denied wrongdoing, saying the charges were politically motivated.

On Wednesday, a Facebook page connected Rivernider — under the name Bob River — featured his Sumter County mug shot as a profile photo. On his website, Rivernider promotes himself as a GOP consultant, debate moderator and First Amendment advocate who has been active with the Villagers for Trump.

State prosecutors also found that Rivernider voted in 2022 despite felony convictions and unpaid restitution. According to a December 2022 memo, prosecutors opted not to charge him for that, because they couldn’t prove he meant to vote illegally.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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