MADERA – A Monterey County woman who pled guilty in early March to six felony counts of election fraud has been sentenced to one year in the Madera County Jail.
April Atilano, 30, received the 364-day sentence on April 9th from Superior Court Judge Michael Jerkovich.
The case against Atilano was initiated after County Clerk-Recorder Rebecca Martinez’s staff noticed irregularities in several submitted voter registrations.
In 2018, Atilano was hired by a private company to register residents of Madera County to vote. After contacting residents, Atilano unlawfully changed some residents’ information, including party affiliation, and then she forged their signatures on the registration form.
Martinez and her staff immediately recognized the voter registration cards appeared to have forged signatures and notified the Madera County District Attorney and the California Secretary of State’s office.
After an extensive investigation, Atilano’s entire scheme was uncovered and she was charged with a number of felonies.
Atilano’s sentencing included several conditions. In order to avoid any issues with COVID-19, the defendant was ordered to report to the Madera County Jail by July 10th.
Additionally, Atilano can petition the court for county parole after serving a minimum of 90 days. The Court maintains sole discretion over the petition for parole.
Atilano also will serve 3 years on formal felony probation.
“Election fraud is a serious crime and I have maintained that Ms. Atilano must serve time behind bars,” Martinez said this week after the sentence was handed down. “This was a deliberate act and the integrity of our elections was jeopardized by her actions.”
As a result of Martinez’ quick action, not a single voter’s information was altered or compromised despite Atilano’s actions.
“I am thankful for my staff, the cooperation of the victims and the work done by our District Attorney,” Martinez said. “Protecting our elections has always been my highest priority and I will continue to maintain this vigilance as we head into the Presidential Election in November.”