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Councilwoman Whose Campaign Allegedly Collected Fraudulent Signatures Pleads Case To Stay On Ballot

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Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo was at the Bronx Board of Elections on Thursday, pleading her case to stay on the ballot. She needs just 450 signatures to get on the ballot, but her petition is allegedly riddled with fraud. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Behind a door at the Bronx Board of Elections, City Councilwoman Maria Del Carmen Arroyo was pleading to stay on the ballot.

Much of the 3,300 signatures Arroyo's campaign collected to get on the ballot were allegedly fraudulent.

"There was clearly action taken by individuals that were trusted to collect petitions for my candidacy that did not do the right thing," Arroyo said. "It is in the hands of the district attorney, and it's an ongoing investigation."

One of those fake signatures included Derek Jeter.

"My constituents, especially those whose names were wrongly used, to see them personally and apologize to them for the actions of these three individuals," Arroyo said.

Apology or not, Arroyo, a two-term councilwoman from the Bronx, could now be thrown off the ballot.

She was pleading her case in front of a court referee on Thursday.

The councilwoman said it wasn't her fault. Three people she hired committed the fraud.

One of them was Elbin Lopez, who testified under oath.

"I did not do it. That wasn't from me. I can't say, I don't know where they came from," Lopez said. "Being it's the first time I am doing petitions, I think it's the first and last time I am going to do it. To me, it's a headache. I'm not going to do this again."

"The individuals responsible will be brought to answer for their actions," Arroyo said.

Arroyo has referred the matter to the Bronx district attorney.

Her challenger, Julio Pabon, said that it's Arroyo that's ultimately responsible, and she should be thrown off the ballot.

"I think that the issue of going to the DA is a very creative ploy to try to take away attention from the fact that she, perhaps, is directly responsible," Pabon said.

"I expect I'm going to be on the ballot. I expect that I will be re-elected," Arroyo said.

Ultimately, we won't know whether or not Councilwoman Arroyo stays on the ballot until next week, when a judge gets the case.

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