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Marco Island Councilman turns himself in for election fraud

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Posted at 12:29 PM, Feb 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-07 12:29:52-05

MARCO ISLAND, Fla. — A Marco Island councilman has turned himself in on three counts of forgery of a ballot envelope and three counts of criminal use of personal identification information, according to the City of Marco Island.

78-year-old Victor Rios turned himself in Friday. The city says the investigation began after the Belize Condominium Association election back on March 22, 2019.

The city says after election results were announced, "it appeared that several residents who were purported to have voted in the election did not vote, and their signatures on the outer-ballot envelopes were forgeries," the city said in a press release.

The City of Marco Island says one person living in Marco Island filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes, accusing Rios of committing election fraud in order to remain president of the board. An investigation was launched.

It found that several people in Marco Island had ballots cast in their names, which they didn't authorize and were unaware of.

The city says ballot envelopes included personal identification information of the victims such as names, condo numbers, and forged signatures. State lab workers were able to match the DNA on the envelopes to Rios.

He turned himself into the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Department of Corrections and has been released after posting a $30,000 bond. The city says the case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, 20th Judicial Circuit.