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Ex-North Las Vegas constable candidate charged with forgery, perjury

Former North Las Vegas constable candidate Jimmy Vega faces a litany of criminal charges in connection with efforts to establish his residency to run for office.

Prosecutors accuse Vega of falsifying documents so he could seek office in North Las Vegas, according to a criminal complaint filed last week in Las Vegas Justice Court.

Vega’s charges include burglary, forgery, perjury, filing a fraudulent application for a driver’s license, filing a false document for public office and filing a false residency statement by a candidate. Co-defendant Larry DeCoursey also faces a forgery charge in the case.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melanie Tobiasson granted a motion to convert an arrest warrant into an order to appear in court. She scheduled a Dec. 13 preliminary hearing for the men.

Vega’s attorney, Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo, D-Las Vegas, said he is hopeful his client can strike a plea deal. Although Fumo said he has not delved into the case too much, he thinks Vega was overcharged.

DeCoursey’s attorney, John Turco, declined to comment.

Las Vegas police raided two homes associated with Vega just weeks before Election Day last year in an effort to determine where he lived.

The raids followed a brief investigation by the Nevada secretary of state’s office, which received a complaint that Vega did not comply with residency laws. He was required to live in North Las Vegas for at least 30 days before the end of the filing period for candidates.

The secretary of state’s office concluded its investigation after Vega voluntarily provided a lease agreement that he signed on Dec. 1, 2017. The office found no wrongdoing.

But according to his criminal complaint, Vega signed the lease on March 14, 2018 — one day before filing for candidacy.

Police raided both his fiancee’s Las Vegas home and a home he said he was renting in North Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in October. Prosecutors accuse Vega of living at the Las Vegas home.

Vega, a Republican, ran in part on his experience as a chief petty officer in the Navy Reserve and as a deputy constable in Laughlin.

His campaign drew the star power of his childhood friend, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.

In a campaign-funded interview with Kimmel, Vega said he ran for office because to him, it was an “integrity issue.”

His opponent, incumbent Robert Eliason, lacked the proper state certification to perform the duties of constable, which include carrying out evictions, serving court papers and processing abandoned vehicle complaints. Still, Eliason defeated Vega for the county-controlled position in November. Eliason is fighting in court to keep the job.

“I’m just somebody that’s out to do the right thing,” Vega told Kimmel. “I know everybody says that and every politician says that, but it’s true. You know, the reason why I ran was because, again, what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong, so I’m doing it from the heart.”

In 2007, prosecutors charged then-Clark County Commissioner Lynette Boggs McDonald with perjury and filing a false instrument after she was caught allegedly living at a home outside her commission district, but listing an address inside her district as her home. She later pleaded guilty to a single gross misdemeanor in exchange for avoiding jail time.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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