Another San Gabriel Valley politician facing criminal charges

Former Councilwoman Sharon Martinez looks like she might be in trouble:
Here’s an update from reporter Daniel Tedford:

MONTEREY PARK – County prosecutors have charged former Councilwoman Sharon Martinez with five felonies in connection with a 2007 election campaign mailer.

Martinez, 43, was charged on Feb. 26 with one count of conspiracy to commit false campaign advertisement, one count of false campaign advertisement, one count of forgery, one count of use of a counterfeit city seal, one count of perjury and one misdemeanor attempt to dissuade a witness, said David Demerjian, head deputy of the District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity.

If convicted, Martinez faces a maximum of five years and four months in state prison, Demerjian said.

Martinez could not imeediately be reached for comment.

The charges stem from a 2007 election campaign mailer that targeted Councilman Frank Venti, Demerjian said.

The mailer contained a letter signed by Venti claiming he was working to oust the city’s fire department and replace it with a contract with Los Angeles County Fire Department, Venti said. The signature on the letter was a forgery and contained a counterfeit city seal, according to the complaint filed by the district attorney’s office.

Martinez paid Alhambra political consultant Melrose Castillo $5,000 in cash to produce and distribute the mailer, anonymously, according to the complaint. Castillo is also charged with the same five felonies, according to the complaint.

Martinez had served on the Monterey Park City Council since 2001 before she was defeated in a reelection bid last year.

She came in fourth in the March 2009 election when Councilwoman Betty Tom Chu replaced her on the council with an election victory. Councilman David Lau was also reelected that year.