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Lynwood Councilman's Relatives Plead No Contest to Voter Fraud

March 06, 2004|Anna Gorman | Times Staff Writer

Eight members of the family of Lynwood City Councilman Ramon Rodriguez pleaded no contest Friday to unlawful voter registration.

The defendants, who include the councilman's two brothers, sister, niece and nephew, admitted that they had lied about their address when they registered to vote in the November 2001 municipal election. The Lynwood address they listed does not exist.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Horwitz placed the defendants on two years' probation and ordered each of them to complete 80 hours of community service. The district attorney's office dropped charges of perjury and conspiracy to commit election fraud, which could have resulted in four-year prison terms.

The charges were filed in October, and the prosecutor said the case moved very quickly.

"I think it's a reflection of the strength of our case -- it was pretty strong," Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Ceballos said.

The city councilman, who has been on the council since 2001, was not charged.

His family members registered at 11140 Atlantic Ave. The closest existing address is Rodriguez's hardware store at 11144 Atlantic Ave.

Rodriguez told the prosecutor that he believed his relatives had registered in Lynwood to help him get elected. They actually live in other cities.

The defendants are: Ismael Reyes Rodriguez and Jose Rodriguez, both brothers of the councilman; Martha Mendoza, a sister; Susana Rodriguez, a niece; Ismael Mario Rodriguez Jr., a nephew; Elva Flores Rodriguez, a sister-in-law; and Rodriguez's sister and her husband, Sylvia and Victor Mendoza.

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