Moreno Valley City Councilman Facing Fraud Charges Resigns

The charges -- and now resignation -- come several months after a corruption probe targeted all members of the City Council

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Moreno Valley City Councilman Marcelo Co is accused of four felonies related to allegations he took state money for the care of his mother.

    An elected official in the troubled Riverside County city of Moreno Valley resigned Tuesday, the same day he was scheduled to appear in court on charges that he illegally collected money from the state.

    Councilman Marcelo Co, already targeted in a corruption probe, is facing four felony charges for improperly collecting income from a state program that provided funds for the in-home care of his mother, according to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.

    Co was arrested Monday on suspicion of fraud, grand theft and two other felonies. He was released after posting $15,000 bail.

    On Tuesday, he sent a letter notifying the city of his resignation.

    "I wish you and the city continued success, and I want to take this opportunity to thank you and all my colleagues for all your help, professional courtesy, and support," Co wrote in a letter distributed to news media by city officials.

    No one answered the door at Co's home on Tuesday.

    Co is accused of collecting nearly the same amount – $15,000 – from the In-Home Supportive Services program, which is designed to pay for care of the elderly and disabled.

    Co collected income for the care of his mother, a DA’s office spokesman John Hall said, even while she was not in the country.

    Co was booked at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on suspicion of four felonies – fraud, fraud to obtain aid, grand theft and presenting a false claim – and released at 8 p.m. Monday, according to the Sheriff's Department.

    Co was already the focus of an investigation by a regional corruption task force, which searched the homes of all five City Council members, including that of Co, this part spring.

    The investigation led to a recall effort against Co and other council members. The city clerk on Monday approved paperwork that will allow recall organizers to begin gathering signatures to place the measure on the ballot, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.

    Signs in the city that oppose the recall effort have been cut and defaced, and then repaired.

    Hall said Monday's arrest is "entirely separate from any other investigation involving Mr. Co."

    City News Service and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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