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Councilman Richard Alarcon indicted on perjury and voter fraud charges

August 4, 2010 |  3:22 pm

Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon has been indicted on charges of perjury and voter fraud, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday.

The charges were the result of a 15-month investigation by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. They include charges that Alarcon lied about where he lived and illegally claimed a Panorama City house as his residence.

The indictment was handed down on Friday and was unsealed by Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza on Wednesday afternoon.

Alarcon had acknowledged that the indictment was imminent at Wednesday's council meeting.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn said she received a handwritten note from Alarcon, 56, that discussed what he described as "the D.A.'s action."

"He communicated with each council member, asking us to keep an open mind, and that he was going to fight this and continue to work very hard for the city of Los Angeles," said Hahn. Councilman Ed Reyes confirmed that he received a similar letter.

Alarcon, who represents neighborhoods such as Pacoima and Sylmar, is expected to appear at a Los Angeles County courthouse at some time after 2 p.m.

Alarcon, who was in his chair during the council’s regularly scheduled Wednesday meeting, declined to comment. His spokeswoman, Becca Doten, said he would have a statement about his legal situation at 3 p.m. “He’s getting his work done,” she said. His lawyer, Fred Woocher, also declined to comment.

Prosecutors have been trying for much of the last year to determine whether Alarcon lied about his residency, which can be prosecuted as a felony. They served search warrants in January on two homes owned by Alarcon’s wife, Flora Montes de Oca -- one in Panorama City, which Alarcon claimed as his residence, and another in Sun Valley.
The latter house is outside Alarcon’s district and is in a neighborhood represented by Councilman Paul Krekorian.

Alarcon has repeatedly stated that his residency is at the 1950 tract house on Nordhoff Street in Panorama City, where he is registered to vote. He asserted that he has not always stayed in the house because a transient broke in and barricaded himself there last year.

At least six of Alarcon’s employees were subpoenaed to appear before the criminal grand jury last month.

One neighbor who lives across from Alarcon’s 1950 Panorama City tract house told The Times earlier this year that the councilman had not lived there for three years. Two other neighbors made similar remarks.

Alarcon has said he has complied with the law.

“We do have two houses and maybe that’s caused some confusion, but my permanent residence is on Nordhoff Street,” he said earlier this year.

-- David Zahniser and Jack Leonard