A Coachella Valley Unified School District board member who listed a false home address on candidate nomination forms pleaded guilty Tuesday to submitting false papers and was sentenced to three years probation.
Francisco “Frank” Becerra’s plea agreement requires that he immediately resign from the school district, as well as perform 120 hours of community service. Becerra, 49, was charged with three counts of felony perjury in June for listing a false home address on three separate campaign nomination forms while running for CVUSD Trustee Area 3.
The perjury counts were dismissed as a result of his plea, while a felony count of filing false nomination forms was reduced to a misdemeanor. Becerra potentially faced more than four years in prison had he been convicted on all charges.
While running for the district’s Board of Trustees, Becerra provided a Polk Street address in an agricultural area of Thermal on his candidate forms, but prosecutors said he actually lived about three miles away on Middleton Street.
Becerra defeated Trustee Area 2 incumbent Lowell Kamper and fellow candidate Darlene Berber-Felton, but his actual address should have had him running in Trustee Area 2 against former Coachella Mayor Jesus Gonzalez, who won after running unopposed, according to prosecutors.
Investigator Thomas Lambi of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said in an arrest warrant declaration that Becerra listed the Polk address “in order to qualify for a seat on the board, which he would have otherwise not qualified for while residing at the Middleton St. address.”
D.A.’s investigators said they found bills, DMV information and other evidence indicating Becerra lived at the Middleton Street address. Becerra told investigators that he lived in a mobile trailer between August and December 2016 in order to run for office, according to the declaration.