Conviction in Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information Case

Sentencing will be scheduled in June, in the case against Victor Rios, 81, formerly of Marco Island. He was found guilty following a three-day trial this week, of three counts of Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information related to a 2019 condo board election at the Belize Condominium Association.

Rios had been the president of the Belize Condominium Association since 2008. At the 2019 election for condo board, several other residents of the Belize had run for a spot on the board against Mr. Rios. On election day Victor Rios won the election. Two residents noted the nearly 100 percent alleged participation by unit owners and requested to inspect the outer ballot envelopes. They recognized the similarity in handwriting and the way the names were printed. The pair then began contacting the residents on the questioned ballot envelopes and several indicated they had not voted in the election.

The residents then filed a complaint with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). The case was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) as Mr. Rios was a sitting Marco Island City Councilman at the time of offense.

FDLE swabbed the ballot envelopes and found the defendant’s DNA on three of the envelopes in the area where they would have been sealed. The ballot envelopes contained limited information for handwriting comparison, but FDLE noted it was more likely than not that Mr. Rios had written the information on the ballot envelopes.

The election at the Belize Condominium occurred in 2019. Mr. Rios resigned from City Council in 2020 and was arrested in 2021.

The State Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit prosecuted the case with Assistant State Attorney J.D. Miller, Economic Crimes Unit Chief, and Assistant State Attorney Connor Boe.

Samantha Syoen – Communications Director, State Attorney’s Office