Two Los Angeles men have been charged with voter fraud after attempting to submit 8,000 ballot applications for nonexistent or deceased voters.
Hawthorne, California, mayoral candidate Carlos Antonio De Bourbon Montenegro, 53, and Marcos Raul Arevalo, 34, planned the effort in an attempt to help Montenegro win his bid for mayor, Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Tuesday.
The county is accusing Montenegro of submitting more than 8,000 fraudulent ballot applications on behalf of “fictitious, nonexistent or deceased” voters between July 1 and Oct. 15 of this year, according to a felony complaint.
“What this does is it illustrates that election officials here as well as across the country take these issues very seriously. This was 8,000 registrations in a jurisdiction that has 5.8 million voters,” Dean Logan, the county’s top election official, told the Los Angeles Times.
None of the fraudulent ballots in question were submitted in the general election, he added.
Montenegro falsified names, addresses and signatures on nomination papers, according to the attorney general’s office. The attorney general’s office had no comment on the case.
Both Montenegro and Arevalo face charges including conspiracy to commit voter fraud, voter fraud, procuring and offering a false or forged instrument and interference with a prompt transfer of a completed affidavit. Montenegro could face up to 15 years in prison, and Arevalo could face up to seven if convicted.
The district attorney’s Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office, the FBI, the Covina Police Department and the California Secretary of State’s Office all took part in the investigation into the two men, the release noted.