ESCONDIDO: Mexican man admits to voter fraud

2012-09-07T13:45:00Z2012-09-07T14:55:14Z blowrey@nctimes.comNorth County Times
1 hour ago • By BRANDON LOWREY

A Mexican who was deported decades ago for drug trafficking pleaded guilty this week to living illegally in Escondido under a false identity and fraudulently voting in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, federal authorities said Friday.

Ricardo Lopez-Munguia, 45, pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted entry to the U.S. after deportation, making a false claim to U.S. citizenship, and voter fraud by an illegal alien, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office.

Lopez-Munguia faces a maximum term of 28 years in federal prison, followed by deportation. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 19 in San Diego.

In 1986, Lopez-Munguia was convicted of heroin trafficking. A federal judge ordered him to be deported the following year.

It was unclear when he re-entered the U.S.

Lopez-Munguia assumed the identity of Gustavo Carranza-Madrigal, a U.S. citizen, and obtained a fraudulent California driver's license, a Social Security card and a U.S. passport, according to the statement.

A Border Patrol agent arrested Lopez-Munguia on July 5 as he tried to return from Mexico, the statement said.

Despite accusations often leveled during or after elections, proven cases of voter fraud are exceedingly rare, according to several studies and reports.

A policy brief by the New York University School of Law's non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice said that voter fraud is "essentially irrational" and "a singularly foolish way to attempt to win an election."

"Each act of voter fraud risks five years in prison and a $10,000 fine," the brief said, "but yields at most one incremental vote."

Many instances of alleged voter fraud are later discovered to be simple clerical errors, the brief said.

Call staff writer Brandon Lowrey at 760-740-3517.

ESCONDIDO: Mexican man admits to voter fraud : Escondido