Alarcon Convicted of Voter Fraud and Perjury

After five days of deliberations, a Los Angeles jury has convicted former L.A. Councilman Richard Alarcon on 4 felony charges of lying about his residence on official documents.  He was acquitted on 12 other counts.  Alarcon’s wife Flora was also convicted of 2 counts of voter fraud, 1 of perjury, and acquitted on 3 others.

Alarcon served on the City Council from 1993 to 1998, and served a second term from 2007 through 2013.  First indicted four years ago, Alarcon had been charged with falsely claiming that he lived in a home within his 7th Council District, one of the poorest areas of the San Fernando Valley, while really living in a more upscale neighborhood in nearby Sun Valley.  The case recalls the conviction earlier this year of former State Senator Roderick Wright, who too was convicted of lying about his residency.

The defense had argued that the couple really did reside at the property, but were temporarily living in a second home during renovations. But witnesses during the 11-day trial said that they believed the house was vacant.  Gas company bills showed that the gas had been turned off for two years.  When police served a search warrant served in 2010, they seized moldy orange juice and year-old eggs.  Talk about spoliation of evidence! (On the other hand, milk seized from the fridge was only 12 days old.)

State election law states that an official residence is a permanent home where one intends to remain and return after an absence.  Interestingly, the law does not specify how much time one must spend at the address for it to qualify as a “domicile.”  Whatever the magic number, jurors decided the Alarcons fell short.

Sentencing for the Alarcons is set for September 10.  The former councilman faces as many as six years in prison.

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