Edinburg Mayor, Wife Charged in Connection to Election Fraud Case, Bond Posted
EDINBURG – Richard Molina, mayor of Edinburg, and his wife Dalia Molina turned themselves into investigators at a Department of Public Safety Office Thursday morning.
DPS Lt. Johnny Hernandez confirms to CHANNEL 5 NEWS the Attorney General's Office obtained arrest warrants for Molina for one count of engaging in organized election fraud, a first-degree felony and two counts of illegal voting, a second-degree felony.
The Texas Attorney General also obtained an additional arrest warrant for Molina's wife, Dalia Molina, for one count of illegal voting, a second-degree felony.
This comes a year since the Edinburg mayor denied voter fraud allegations.
Since the November 2017 Edinburg mayoral election, 18 people have been charged in this investigation.
Affidavits show at least seven people discussed their involvement with the Molinas to state investigators.
The court documents for Richard Molina show he is accused of engaging in organized election fraud activity between September 19, 2017 and November 7, 2017.
Voters who spoke to investigators admitted to voting illegally after changing their addresses to some that were within the city limit.
On some occasions, Molina is accused of filling out the form with the false addresses and asking voters to approve and sign the changes.
State investigators found Molina’s signature on those registration forms. He’s also accused on two illegal voting charges in October.
The court documents for Dalia Molina show her charge for illegal voting stems from August 21, 2017.
A person who voted illegally spoke with investigators saying that person and the Molinas were all at an event – that’s when that voter was encouraged to register under a false address to be eligible to vote in the mayoral election.
In total, Dalia Molina is accused of encouraging three people to illegally change their address.
In one part of the affidavit, a voter who spoke with investigators discussed a conversation with Richard Molina.
The affidavit reads:
"Richard Molina told PERSON B that he was going to use strategy of changing voter registration addresses for people who live outside the city limits to addresses located inside the city limits of Edinburg, Texas, where people did not actually reside, in an effort to increase the number of voters who could vote for Richard Molina and to win elections."
The election wrapped up in November, but an investigation began netting several voters.
On April 26, 2018, a CHANNEL 5 NEWS investigation revealed voter irregularities at an Edinburg home on Fay Street.
Eleven people registered to vote out of that residence that has only one and a half bedrooms.
All of the registered voters cast a ballot in the election.
A woman also came forward at the time and accused then mayoral candidate, Richard Molina, of guiding her to change her address to Edinburg to vote in the election.
Texas Rangers opened an investigation at the time.
A month later, May 23, 2018, three people were arrested on charges of illegal voting and lying on a voter application.
A fourth arrest came the following day. A woman who was a convicted felon was accused of voting in spite of state laws forbidding felons from casting a vote. She submitted a form changing her address to a residence in Edinburg.
On June 2, 2018, a fifth person was arrested on two counts of illegal voting.
The case went silent for several months until a new group of nine people were arrested November 8, 2018.
Three of them claimed residency at the small home on Fay Street in Edinburg – the home investigated by CHANNEL 5 NEWS in April 2018.
One of the people claiming residence lived there and knew and allowed other voters register under that address.
A woman who claimed to live there was also a paid campaign worker by then candidate for Mayor Richard Molina.
The following date on November 11, 2018, a tenth person was arrested and charged with voting illegally.
The arrests were all part of the Texas Attorney General's investigation into an "organized illegal voting scheme."
On Wednesday, April 24, Gregorio Alaniz was booked, accused of voting illegally in October 2017 in Edinburg.
Police say he in fact lived at an address on Mile 14 road which is outside the city of Edinburg.
Police do not accuse Mayor Molina of registering Alaniz; they say another person registered Alaniz.
The following day, Richard and Dalia Molina turned themselves in on an investigation that remains ongoing.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS also knows from the complaints against Molina there are other people being investigated who haven't been named.
The Hidalgo District Attorney says, "We encourage any additional witnesses who were pressured to engage in fraudulent voting in Molina's election to step forward."
Both the Edinburg mayor and his wife are currently out on bond. Molina was issued a combined $20,000 bond and his wife received a $5,000 bond.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton put out a statement; it can be read here.
Read the full criminal complaint against Mayor Richard Molina here.
Read the full criminal complaint against Dalia Molina here.
Watch the video above for further details.
Mayor Richard Molina and his wife, Dalia, arriving to surrender to Department of Public Safety.
The Edinburg mayor and his wife awaiting to be arraigned.
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