Former Flagstaff Mayoral Candidate Indicted Over Fraudulent Petition Signatures
A former candidate in Flagstaff’s mayoral election was indicted Friday on 12 counts related to fraudulent and forged signatures on his nominating petitions. A state grand jury alleges Victor Varela submitted at least five signatures of individuals without their consent or knowledge. Varela dropped out of the race earlier in July.
State Attorney General spokesperson Ryan Anderson says candidate Varela faces several felony and misdemeanor charges related to the fraudulent signatures.
“What we are alleging is that between January and April of this year, he made and submitted multiple signatures on petitions that were in fact fraudulent, and signed the backs of these petitions stating that these petitions were signed in front of him, and that he was verifying their accuracy," Anderson said. "While we don't know the extent of how many of these petitions or signatures are actually fraudulent, we were able to identify at least five individuals who had their names signed, but did not in fact sign Mr. Varela's petition. In some cases, these victims were on the petitions multiple times."
Because Varela withdrew from the election after the ballots were printed, his name still appears on them. Officials with the city of Flagstaff say votes for him will not be counted. Three other candidates are on the ballot to replace current Mayor Coral Evans, who is running for a seat in the state Legislature.