Victor N. Rios, 78, of Marco Island, turned himself in Friday on three counts of forgery of a ballot envelope and three counts of criminal use of personal identification information.
The investigation began after the March 22, 2019 election of the Belize Condominium Association. After the results of the election 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. A resident filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes alleging that Rios, the president of the board, committed election fraud and forgery to ensure that he remained on it. After reviewing the complaint, the allegation was forwarded to the Marco Island Police Department as forgery is a third-degree felony. The police department reviewed the allegations and asked FDLE to investigate, since Rios was a sitting city councilman of Marco Island.
The investigation found that several residents had ballots cast in their names, which they did not authorize and were unaware of. Ballot envelopes contained the personal identification information of the victims, including their names, condo numbers, and forged signatures. FDLE lab analysis of envelopes discovered a DNA profile which matched the DNA profile of Rios.
Rios turned himself into the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Department of Corrections on February 5 and has since been released upon posting a $30,000 bond. The case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, 20th Judicial Circuit.