Election Fraud Cases
Alexander Bronson, former Trustee for Manteca Unified School District, California, pleaded guilty to charges of voter fraud. He listed a false address in order to qualify for candidacy in the November 2014 Manteca Unified School District Board of Education election. He resigned from office and is awaiting sentencing.
Jose Fragozo, a trustee on the Escondido Union School District Board, pleaded guilty to a felony charge that he voted in the 2014 general election while registered at an address where he did not live. Investigators determined that while he owned the property at that address, he actually lived at a nearby second home. The two properties lie in different board electoral zones, and California law requires elected officials to reside in the districts they represent. Fargozo claimed the false address as his residence shortly before announcing his candidacy for the board seat in that electoral zone. The remaining charges were dismissed pursuant to a plea agreement, in which Fragozo agreed to resign and not to seek electoral office for three years. The judge sentenced Fragozo to three years of probation, a single day in jail, 15 days of community service, and the payment of a fine and restitution which could total over $28,500.
In 2014, Maria C. Del Toro received $1,900 to collect signatures for a recall election effort against Salinas City Elementary School District Trustee, Janet Barnes. The recall ultimately failed, but during a random audit, the election department found significant discrepancies in the signatures submitted by Del Toro. She confessed to forging the signatures and pleaded guilty. She was sentenced to 40 days in jail, three years' probation, and had to repay the $1,900.
Donald Dewsnup, a housing development activist in San Francisco, registered to vote using a false address. As part of a plea bargain, he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts of false voter registration. He is awaiting sentencing but is expected to be sentenced to perform 100 hours of community service and three years probation.
Mark Evans voted by absentee ballot in the November 2014 election. He then cast a second absentee ballot, this time in the name of his deceased father-in-law. Following an investigation by the District Attorney's office and the County Clerk and Recorder's Office, the 62-year-old Ventura County resident was charged with misdemeanor voter fraud. He pleaded no contest and received three years' probation and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
Richard Alarcon, a Los Angeles City Councilman, was convicted of three charges of voter fraud following a jury trial. He lied about where he lived in order to run for office and vote in a different jurisdiction than the place where he actually lived. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail, 600 hours of community service, and five years' probation. He is also banned from running for public office.
Flora Montes de Oca, the wife of Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, was convicted of voter fraud after she lied about her residence so that she could vote in the district her husband represented. She was sentenced to five years' probation and 400 hours of community service and is barred from holding public office.
In 2014, former auditor-controller candidate Kathleen Knox, who during the campaign pledged to "fight waste and fraud," pleaded no contest to three counts of voter fraud. As a candidate for auditor-controller, Knox put down a false address as her place of residence. She was fined and sentenced to three years of probation.
State Sen. Roderick Wright (D_Inglewood) was convicted of eight felony counts of perjury and voter fraud. He deliberately misled voters as to his residency in order to run for office in a neighboring district. Wright was sentenced to 90 days' imprisonment, 1,500 hours of community service, and three years' probation. He has also been permanently barred from holding elected office. He was pardoned by former Governor Jerry Brown in 2018.
A City Council election (originally decided by four votes) in Vernon, California is overturned when it is determined that five people who voted for the winner were not residents of the city, and two others had not properly mailed in their ballots. A new winner was subsequently named.
Ricardo Lopez-Munguia, a Mexican who was deported decades ago for drug trafficking, pleaded guilty to living illegally in Escondido under a false identity and fraudulently voting in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
Officials in the small town of Cudahy took part in a widespread corruption scheme that included accepting cash bribes, abusing drugs at City Hall, and throwing out absentee ballots that favored election challengers. After a lengthy FBI Investigation of the 2007 and 2009 elections, the former head of code enforcement, Angel Perales, admitted to tampering with mail-in ballots in city elections by opening them and then resealing and submitting votes for incumbent candidates while discarding votes for challengers. He and Mayor David Silva pleaded guilty to bribery and extortion charges, although Perales' plea agreement included his admission of election fraud. Silva was sentenced to one year in federal prison. Perales was sentenced to five years' probation.
James Conway was convicted on six charges stemming from his illegal registration to vote: three counts of perjury, two of falsely filing a declaration of candidacy, and one for false registration. Conway was sentenced to time served, given probation, and was ordered to pay restitution.
Immigrant-Rights activist Nativo Lopez pleaded guilty to one count of voter registration fraud when it was discovered that he registered to vote in Los Angeles while living in Santa Ana. Lopez had been investigated for voter fraud before. In 1996 his organization registered new citizens to vote in an election that ultimately unseated Republican Rep. Bob Dornan from the 46th District. A House Oversight Committee report later concluded that 748 improper ballots had been cast, 624 of them from non-citizen immigrants. Despite the improperly cast votes, the result of that election was not changed. Lopez was sentenced to three years of probation and 400 hours of community service.
Ken Mariette, former manager of the Mountain Gate Community Services District, pleaded no contest to felony charges of voting and registration fraud. Mariette used his girlfriend's address to register to vote in Mountain Gate in 2004. He then worked for the district before becoming its manager. Mariette was sentenced to 36 months' conditional release and was ordered to serve 30 days in an adult work program.