Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo campaign workers arrested for election fraud

BREAKING NEWS – Three campaign workers for south Bronx City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo were arrested Wednesday, March 26 for filing falsified nominating petitions, riddled with fictitious names and addresses, including Yankees team captain Derek Jeter and model Kate Moss.

All three were arraigned in Bronx Criminal Court charged with multiple felony counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, Forgery in the Second Degree, and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree.

They face maximum terms of up to seven years imprisonment if convicted. All three were released in their own custody.

Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson brought the criminal charges after a nine-month investigation stemming from complaints from the incumbent Arroyo’s challenger, Julio Pabon. Arroyo was cleared of any involvement in the scheme, involving Elbin Lopez, 49, of 290 Alexander Avenue, Betty Julien, 47, of 925 Bruckner Boulevard of 40 Richman Plaza, and Luis Vargas, 45, of 925 Bruckner Boulevard.

They were hired by Arroyo’s campaign to gather signatures on petitions to have her name placed on the ballot in the September Democratic Primary.

Arroyo, who found herself redistricted, with E. Harlem’s Melissa Mark-Viverito taking in a huge swath of her south Bronx district, narrowly made it on to the ballot after most of the signatures on her nominating petitions were invalidated.

The criminal complaint against the three charges the threes forged nearly one hundred signatures on the candidate’s petitions, which were then filed with the New York City Board of Elections.

The alleged forgeries also included the signatures of sports announcer Joe Buck and New York Giants defensive tackle Rocky Bernard.

The petitions also contained phony addresses accompanying some signatures including a Citibank branch location and a location for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation program.

Reach Editor Bob Kappstatter at (718) 742–3395. E-mail him at bkappstatter@cnglocal.com.

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