What to Know
- Sweetwater Commissioner Sophia Lacayo pleaded guilty to a perjury charge, authorities said
- Officials said Lacayo lied about where she lived in her Affidavit of Residency
- Lacayo, who was elected in May 2019, has resigned her seat
A Sweetwater commissioner who resigned her seat has pleaded guilty to a perjury charge after authorities say she lied about where she lived when running for office.
Sophia Lacayo, who was elected to the commission in May 2019, pleading guilty to a charge of perjury when not in an official proceeding, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.
The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor, and Lacayo was sentenced to one year of probation. Under her plea deal, she has resigned from her seat and is prohibited from running for public office during her probation term.
She also has to take an ethics course with the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust and pay various investigative cost recovery fees.
"While I was not arrested, or found guilty of a crime, this morning my attorney entered my guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of perjury in an unofficial proceeding, for which adjudication was withheld," Lacayo said in a statement Tuesday. "The decision to enter a plea was made in the best interest of my family and the residents of the City of Sweetwater who would not benefit from any protracted litigation that would detract from the real issues plaguing the hard working people of our community."
Authorities said Lacayo had officially swore that she lived at a home on Southwest 7th Street in her Affidavit of Residency. But the landlord at the address verified she didn't live there, and authorities found she was living at an address in unincorporated Miami-Dade.
It's a requirement of Sweetwater's city charter that a candidate must reside in city limits to run for office.
"Deliberately swearing to false information in order to run for a City Commission seat, as occurred here, deceived those voters who believed in the candidate," State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. "Such a deliberate action can never have a good result for a city."
Lacayo had submitted a letter of resignation on Monday.
"It is with a heavy heart that I formally resign my position as Commissioner of the City of Sweetwater effective immediately," the letter read. "It has been my honor and privilege to serve the people of Sweetwater and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for the faith they placed in me through their vote. I will continue to serve and fight for our community in my unofficial capacity and will strive for a better quality of life for every resident of Sweetwater."