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Richard Alarcon, wife ordered to stand trial for perjury, voter fraud

Councilman Probe

Nick Ut/AP

Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife Flora were ordered to stand trial Tuesday on voter fraud and perjury charges. They will be arraigned on Oct. 18.

Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife will face trial for 23 felonies, including voter fraud and perjury, for allegedly living outside of the councilman’s Seventh District.

After a 10-day preliminary hearing that stretched out over two months, Judge M. L. Villar de Longoria determined there was enough evidence for both Richard and Flora Alarcon to face trial. The councilman is charged with:

  • Nine counts of perjury
  • Seven counts of voter fraud
  • One count of false declaration of candidacy 

A second charge of filing a false declaration of candidacy was dismissed. Flora Alarcon is charged with three counts of perjury and three counts of voter fraud.

Arraignment for the couple is scheduled for Oct. 18. Attorneys for the Alarcons said they would file motions to dismiss the case.

Prosecutor Jennifer Lentz Snyder argued the councilman never really lived at his declared address in Panorama City. Instead, she maintained the Alarcons and their children lived in a home in Sun Valley, which was outside the L.A. City Council’s Seventh District. According to investigators, the councilman was rarely seen at the Panorama City house, which was described as unkempt and unlivable.

“I’m very confident the law is on our side," Snyder said after the judge's ruling. "I don’t think the law is designed to permit people to pick and choose from among the truths they’re suppose to tell."

Lawyers for the Alarcons tell a very different story. When the Alarcons married in 2007, they decided to renovate the Panorama City home. Receipts from Home Depot showed purchases of blinds and flooring. However, because family members were tasked with renovating the house, the project took more than two years, attorneys said. Just as the family was getting ready to move into the home in October 2009, a squatter was discovered in the residence.

“Had I done the renovations quicker, it probably would have impacted my performance on the job, so it’s a Catch-22 in some ways,” Alarcon told reporters after the hearing. “We believe it was legal.”

Alarcon is running for the State Assembly, where he served prior to the City Council. He is on the November ballot against Raul Bocanegra, chief of staff to the incumbent Felipe Fuentes.

"When all the facts come out, this case is going to be laughed out of court," said Mark Overland, attorney for Flora Alarcon. 

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