Former Providence City Council candidate arrested for election fraud

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A former candidate for Providence City Council has been arrested for election fraud stemming from a State Police probe into his failed campaign last year.

Franchesco Franco, who finished third in a three-way Democratic primary for the Ward 11 City Council seat, and Migdalia Rivera, his campaign manager, are accused of tampering with at least 38 mail ballots during Franco’s campaign. Franco is also accused of voting from a false address.

Franco, 34, was charged with violation of elections; fraudulent or repeat voting; using a false residence for voting purposes, embezzlement and fraudulent conversion; and conspiracy. Rivera, 40, was charged with fraudulent or repeat voting; forgery and counterfeiting in general and conspiracy.

Both were released on $10,000 personal recognizance and are scheduled to appear in court Sept. 16.

WPRI.com first reported the State Police visited Franco the day before the Democratic primary. At the time, Franco said law enforcement officials “mentioned signatures not matching the mail ballots.” He said “we know we didn’t do anything wrong.”

Ward 11 includes Upper South Providence and the West End neighborhoods. Democrat Mary Kay Harris defeated incumbent Davian Sanchez and Franco to win the primary and easily beat Republican Roy David Bolden in the general election.

Franco, who goes by Francisco, received 18% of the vote in the primary. He could not be reached Thursday because his phone was disconnected.

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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