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Former L.A. City Councilman And His Wife Convicted Of Fraud And Perjury
A jury didn't believe that Richard Alarcon lived in this run-down home in his district when he won his seat on the Los Angeles City Council, so today they convicted the politician and his wife of fraud and perjury.
Alarcon was found guilty of three counts of voter fraud and a single count of perjury for living outside of the district he was elected to represent, though he was acquitted of twelve other felony counts, according to City News Service. His wife Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon, was convicted of two counts of voter fraud and one count of perjury, but she was acquitted her of two other counts. Sentencing in the case is set for September.
The case stemmed from the Alarcon's claim that they lived in a run-down home in Panorama City that drew complaints from neighbors. The house didn't look lived in and the water and electricity bill proved it wasn't. The Alarcons lived in another home outside his district in Sun City, but they claimed that they were doing renovations on the other house and always planned to return. After his arrest, Alarcon also said that he felt unsafe after there had been a break-in at his Panorama City home.
But jurors heard evidence suggesting that Alarcon knew he had pulled one over on voters in 2007 when he got elected to represent the 7th District. A Department of Transportation employee testified that when she congratulated him on his election, he told her, "You know, I wasn't even living in the district when I was elected." She said he added: "I am now, of course." Former L.A. City Councilwoman and controller Wendy Greuel testified that when she was on the council, Alarcon asked "if I would consider moving the boundaries to include his fiance's house."
Attorneys tried to discredit the testimony of witnesses, like neighbors who didn't notice upgrades to the home or the DOT employee who couldn't remember other aspects of the conversation she had with Alarcon that day. Richard Alarcon's attorney Richard Lasting said bank bills were still arriving at Alarcon's home, proving he always intended to move back. Flora Alarcon's attorney, Mark Overland, said the prosecution's case hinged on whether the Panorama City home was a residence or a domicile: "These are word crimes. These are crimes about using the wrong words."
Alarcon's latest stint on the City Council was his second one. He's also served in the state Senate and Assembly.