A political operative surrendered to face criminal charges Tuesday after prosecutors said he manipulated elections for community councils in Southwest Miami-Dade.
David Alberto Carcache, 34, was charged with falsifying records, aiding and abetting an elections-code violation and false swearing.
According to prosecutors, the unregistered lobbyist Carcache arranged for three candidates to run for community councils in Kendall and West Kendall, even though they did not live in the neighborhoods and were not eligible to run.
He is alleged to have prepared bogus qualifying documents and maintained control over the candidates’ email accounts. He also submitted fraudulent campaign financial records, prosecutors said.
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Thousands of dollars in campaign expenses were also paid in checks or money orders payable to Carcache’s sister and mother, according to prosecutors.
Two candidates, Mauricio Rodriguez-Varela and Daniel Diaz, won their elections in August 2014. They resigned because of the investigation. A third candidate, Jesus Antonio Salas, withdrew from the election before voters went to the polls.
“ ‘All politics is local’ is a phrase taken to heart by Carcache who sought to manipulate and peddle his influence in our county government,” said Miami-Dade Inspector General Mary Cagle. “But for this investigation, there would be three elected officials in office, being controlled by the defendant.”
Community Council members are elected and serve to make suggestions to the County Commission on zoning issues. There are 10 community councils in Miami-Dade County.
Carcache was still in a Miami-Dade jail on Tuesday evening. It was unknown if he had an attorney.
The probe began when a man named Bruno Diaz called police to report that someone showed up at his home to say that a mix-up had happened at the post office and that any mail addressed to “Daniel Diaz” should be thrown out. The homeowner’s video surveillance showed that the man was actually Carcache, who has been active in Sweetwater and Miami Beach.
Later, a letter from the elections department arrived addressed to council candidate Daniel Diaz. By chance, Bruno Diaz had a son also named Daniel — a doctor in Michigan who was decidedly not running for office.
Investigators with the State Attorney’s Office and the Miami-Dade County Inspector General’s Office launched a probe.
Daniel Diaz the candidate admitted that Carcache, who also went by the last name Guzman, had roped him into starting the illegal candidacy. The allegations were backed up by text and Facebook messages sent by Carcache to Diaz.
Carcache has a troubled history in local politics.
In 2013, an unsuccessful Miami Beach candidate accused Carcache, who was working for a rival, of haranguing her outside a precinct. In 2007, the Miami New Times reported that Carcache had been arrested on charges of stealing from his former boss, state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla. The newspaper reported that Carcache was nabbed forging de la Portilla’s signature on checks to himself, his cellphone company and Nicaraguan charities.