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Bell city clerk says documents were forged with her signature

Bell city clerk Rebecca ValdezThe Bell city clerk testified Wednesday that her signature was forged on city documents, including resolutions, minutes, agendas and contracts.

Rebecca Valdez returned to the witness stand for a third day in the corruption trial in which six former council members are accused of misappropriation of public funds.

The clerk said that she noticed the multiple forgeries in 2010 when investigating agencies requested records that were in her care.

“That was not my signature,” Valdez testified.

She said she was the only person who had access to the documents. She did not make a list of the specific forgeries and was unaware of the dates on them.

"Did you make any efforts to ask on your own as a city clerk, 'How did this happen?'" asked attorney Leo Moriarty, who is representing former Councilman Victor Bello.

"No," Valdez said.

The city clerk was given immunity in exchange for testifying in the case against Luis Artiga, Bello, George Cole, Oscar Hernandez, Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal, all of whom face prison sentences if convicted. The council members are accused of fattening their annual salaries by drawing pay for serving on boards and commissions that rarely, and sometimes never, met.

Valdez’s testimony is considered crucial for the prosecution because the city clerk is charged with keeping an accurate record of public meetings.


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Photo: Rebecca Valdez testifies in a 2011 preliminary hearing. Credit: Los Angeles Times



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