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Former Senator Frank Artiles faces new charges in alleged shill candidate scheme

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Former Senator Frank Artiles and Alexis Rodriguez, his alleged accomplice in a plot to manipulate Miami-Dade County’s Senate District 37 race, were facing new criminal charges on Thursday in Miami-Dade.

The charges stem from new evidence investigators found during a March 17 raid at Artiles’ home. Prosecutors accuse Artiles, now a lobbyist, of paying Rodriguez about $50,000 to run as an independent.

Ileana Garcia, the Republican candidate, won the Senate District 37 race against the Democratic incumbent, Jose Javier Rodriguez, by just over 30 votes. More than 6,000 voted for Alex Rodriguez.

During the raid in March, detectives found a safe with cash that prosecutors believe was used in the scheme. They also found a manila folder with information about Celso Alfonso, another candidate that was allegedly planted in another race.

Rodriguez has an added charge for lying on his candidate filing by reporting that he lived in Palmetto Bay when he was allegedly living in Boca Raton.

Artiles is facing a new third-degree felony charge for allegedly telling Rodriguez to submit a false voter registration on June 9, 2020.

As of Thursday night, Alfonso wasn’t facing any charges. Artiles and Rodriguez are out on bond. They have arraignment hearings scheduled for next week.

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About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."