SWEETWATER, Fla. – Former Sweetwater Commissioner Sophia Lacayo has pleaded guilty to perjury following accusations that she lied about where she lived on an official document.
The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor.
According to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, Lacayo did not actually live within the city limits of Sweetwater when she filed an Affidavit of Residency while running for office.
She was elected to the city commission in May 2019.
Prosecutors said the landlord at the property off Southwest Seventh Street where Lacayo claimed to live confirmed that she did not actually live there.
“Deliberately swearing to false information in order to run for a City Commission seat, as occurred here, deceived those voters who believed in the candidate,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. “Such a deliberate action can never have a good result for a city.”
Prosecutors said Lacayo pleaded guilty to the perjury charge and has been sentenced to one year of probation through the Advocate Program.
Lacayo received a withhold of adjudication from the court, prosecutors said.
As a part of her plea, she resigned from the City of Sweetwater Commission and is prohibited from running for public office during the term of her probation.
Her probation cannot be terminated early and she must take an ethics course with the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust and pay various investigative cost recovery fees.
Lacayo released a statement Tuesday through her spokeswoman, saying she entered the plea because it was “in the best interest of my family and the residents of the City of Sweetwater, who would not benefit from any protracted litigation that would detract from the real issues plaguing the hard working people of our community.
“I am hopeful the discrepancy in the residency requirement between the City Charter and the applicable elections ordinances are clarified for the benefit of all existing and future candidates for public office in the city of Sweetwater.
“I want to thank the citizens of Sweetwater for putting their trust in me. I remain steadfast in my commitment to this community and look forward to assisting them as a private citizen.”