Voter fraud trial to begin for former L.A. Councilman Richard Alarcon

Former L.A. City Councilman Richard Alarcon in April 2012.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Nearly four years after they were initially charged, former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon are to stand trial Thursday, accused of lying about where they lived so Alarcon could run for office.

Opening arguments are set to begin in the felony perjury and voter fraud case against Alarcon, who until last year represented the 7th Council District, which includes Sylmar, Pacoima and other parts of the northeast San Fernando Valley.

Prosecutors contend that Alarcon and his wife did not live in the district when Alarcon filed his candidacy papers in 2006 and 2008, and that they actually lived outside its borders in Sun Valley. Under the City Charter, candidates running for a seat on the City Council must reside in the district they are seeking to represent.

Alarcon and his wife have denied any wrongdoing.


During a preliminary hearing in 2012, the Alarcons’ attorneys said the couple was only living in the Sun Valley home because their actual place of residence in Panorama City was under repair.

But Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar de Longoria ordered the couple to face trial, saying there was “more than substantial” evidence that they lied about where they were living.

Together, Alarcon and his wife face more than 20 felony counts.

When the couple was initially charged, prosecutors said Alarcon falsely claimed to live at 14451 Nordhoff St. in Panorama City when he filed his council candidacy papers. Montes de Oca Alarcon has been accused of lying on DMV and voter documents.
Much has happened in the nearly four years since a grand jury unsealed its indictment in the case. Alarcon, facing term limits, left the council in June 2013. He ran for a seat in the Assembly and lost. Also, another Los Angeles-area politician, state Sen. Roderick D. Wright, was convicted on eight counts of felony perjury and voter fraud in a similar residency case.

Wright, who remains in the Senate on a paid leave of absence, is pursuing an appeal and insists that he did nothing wrong.

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