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Los Angeles Ex-Councilman Convicted of Felony Voter Fraud

Jurors were asked to decide whether the Alarcons lied about where they lived so the politician could qualify for public office

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    NEWSLETTERS

    KNBC-TV
    Former LA Councilman Richard Alarcon outside of court in Los Angeles Wedneday July 23, 2014.

    Former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon was convicted Wednesday on some of the voter fraud and perjury counts against him in a trial stemming from accusations that he lied about where he lived so he could qualify for public office.

    Alarcon was convicted on four of 16 felony counts against him for living outside a district he was elected to represent. The jury cleared him on the other counts. His wife, Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon, was convicted of three counts, and acquitted on three others.

    Alarcon, 60, faced seven counts of fraudulent voting, six counts of perjury by declaration and three counts of perjury in an application for a drivers license. His wife was charged with six felony counts: three counts each of perjury by declaration and fraudulent voting in elections in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

    Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 10. Richard Alarcon faces up to six years in state prison and would be barred from holding elected public office. Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon faces up to five years and four months in state prison and would be barred from running for public office.

    The panel was asked to decide whether the couple lied about where they lived between 2006 and 2009 so that Richard Alarcon could qualify for public office in Los Angeles' 7th Council District.

    Outside of court Wednesday, Alarcon said he had no comment, but added, "I know I'm innocent."

    Deliberations in the month-long trial began last week after prosecutors argued that the Panorama City house that Alarcon and his wife claimed as their "domicile" appeared to neighbors, utility employees and mail carriers to be vacant. Prosecutors contended the Alarcons really lived outside the 7th Council District in Sun Valley.

    Under state election law, a residence for voting purposes is defined as a permanent home where one intends to remain and return after an absence. The law does not detail how much time must be spent at the address for it to qualify as a "domicile."

    The defense claimed that the prosecution had not even come close to proving the charges against the two. Defense attorneys argued that the Panorama City house underwent renovations and remained the couple's permanent residence because they planned to return there after construction.