Arrest warrants issued for Edinburg mayor accused of voting fraud

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Nine arrest warrants for Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina were issued Thursday in connection with allegations of illegal voting in the city’s 2017 general election.

The Monitor, a Rio Grande Valley news organization, reported that the charges listed on the warrants, issued by 92nd District Judge Luis Singleterry, have not been revealed.

Molina and his wife, Dalia, were charged in April with helping orchestrate a ballot fraud scheme that allegedly allowed him to upset incumbent Mayor Richard Garcia in 2017, The Texas Monitor previously reported.

Former Edinburg Justice of the Peace Mary Alice Palacios decided to investigate ballots after the election and filed a voter fraud complaint with the Texas secretary of state’s office in December 2017.

The investigation by the Texas attorney general’s office began in February 2018, a month after Molina was sworn in as mayor. It ensnared 17 others who were charged with falsifying their addresses, a second-degree felony. Investigators with the Election Fraud Unit said the Molinas and some of their co-conspirators recruited residents who live outside the city to claim Edinburg addresses so they could cast ballots for Molina. Many used the address of an apartment complex that Molina owns, the investigators said.

Molina won the election by 1,240 votes. Investigators haven’t said how many votes they believe he obtained fraudulently.

The mayor’s arraignment is scheduled for July 12 at the Hidalgo County Courthouse. He previously served as a city council member and police officer in Edinburg.

 

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