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In game of political influence, South Florida lobbyist accused of fraud again

Prosecutors: David Carcache lied to push for ineligible candidates entrusted with zoning decisions at Miami-Dade's development boundary

David Carcache turns himself in Tuesday in Miami-Dade County.
David Carcache turns himself in Tuesday in Miami-Dade County.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – In an attempt to manipulate zoning and land use in unincorporated west Miami-Dade County, thousands were spent to corrupt the election process, prosecutors said.

It is unclear from where the financial backing for the scheme was coming. David Carcache, 34, who is known for being active in Sweetwater politics, was behind the deceit, prosecutors said.

Although Carcache has registered as a lobbyist before, he wasn't registered in this case. He turned himself in Tuesday.

Carcache was accused of running the campaigns of three ineligible candidates -- two of whom were elected. West Kendall Community Councilmen  Mauricio Rodriguez-Varela and Daniel Diaz, who won last year, resigned. Jesus Antonio Salas was running and quit his campaign.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Click here to view West Kendall and subareas

Prosecutors said he was caught when a resident reported receiving a Miami-Dade Department of Elections packet and getting a visit from a man who knew about the packet. Carcache was facing five counts of falsifying public records, two counts of false swearing and one count of aiding or abetting a violation of the election code.

Law enforcement's findings come at a time when there is ongoing friction over the Urban Development Boundary at western Miami-Dade County land bordering the protected Florida Everglades. Developers have massive plans that need rezoning.

Some homeowners in the area also fear that the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida may want to turn the tribe's Kendale Lakes golf and country club into a casino.The tribe was already lobbying federal authorities to change jurisdiction.

Among the most recent development plans proposed  is the 859-acre "Green City Miami" east of Krome Avenue and west of Southwest 167 Avenue and south of 64th Street and north of 88th Street. There are at least nine land owners involved.

The site, which could take two decades to build, would have 11,401 homes, a hotel with 660 rooms, 925,000 square feet of office, 350,000 square feet of industrial and 1.36 million square feet of retail.

The plans require urban center zoning. The most recent requests for amendments to the zoning plan go before the Miami-Dade County commission for an initial vote Nov. 18 and a final vote in early 2016.

In an email to Local 10 News, attorney Francisco Pines, who represents the project, said Carcache "is in no way, shape or form associated with Green City Miami" or its pending application.

NOT HIS FIRST LIES

Carcache was charged with forgery Feb. 2, 2006 for falsifying Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla's signature, while he worked for him. He made out checks to himself to pay for his cell phone and to make donations to charities that were allegedly helping Nicaraguans.

He claimed to have been honored by the Nicaraguan-American Chamber of Commerce and the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. And he purportedly left The Unity Coalition to work at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Records show that in recent years he was involved in downtown Dadeland Condominiums' zoning issues and had been registered as a lobbyist in Miami-Dade County with the Abraham Lincoln Foundation and the Compassion Foundation.

In 2013, Carcache was also involved in alleged harassment in Miami Beach. Commission candidate Elsa Urquiza, who lost to Micky Steinberg, said he attacked her. Carcache denied the accusations.

"He came up to me , touched me with his shoulder to my shoulder and called me 'a corrupt old woman' and called me 'trash' in Spanish," Urquiza said during an interview with The SunPost. Carcache was "very, very close to an inch of my face ... never in my life have I been called such obscenities. It was really bad."

Carcache's criminal charges include falsely reporting a crime June 24, 2013, and earlier this year Feb. 3, resisting an officer without violence. He was being held without bond on the eight new charges Tuesday.

Follow Local10.com reporter Andrea Torres on Twitter @MiamiCrime