Three former campaign workers for Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo were officially charged with fraud Wednesday.
Betty Julien, Elbin Lopez and Luis Vargas were quietly arrested Tuesday night — eight months after being accused by the elected official of forging signatures for her reelection petitions.
The trio of hired staffers were fingered by the Councilwoman after volunteers for her primary challenger, Julio Pabon, noticed names such as Derek Jeter Jr. and Kate Moss on the rolls.
“I thought this was all behind me,” said Lopez, 49, looking dazed as he left the courtroom.
Arroyo, who went on to win both the primary and general elections, was nearly booted from the ballot for lack of legitimate signatures.
A staggering 81% of the 3,339 signatures filed by the campaign were deemed invalid.
After accusations of fraud were filed against Arroyo by a lawyer for Pabon’s campaign, the councilwoman claimed she and her mother, Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo, were the first to notice page after page of forgeries in the petitions.
“We have concluded that they falsified these documents,” Arroyo said during a Board of Elections hearing in July. The Councilwoman added that the only thing she thought she was guilty of was “trusting people too much.”