Former Marco Island Councilor Victor Rios pleads not guilty in forgery case

Marco Island City Councilor Victor Rios speaks during a council meeting on Oct. 19, 2020.

Former Marco Island City Councilor Victor Rios has entered a written plea of not guilty in the forgery case against him, a court document shows.

Sara Miles, 20th Judicial Circuit spokesperson, wrote in an email Wednesday the move is common.

"It is fairly typical when a party is represented by an attorney," Miles wrote.

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In the notice of appearance, filed Feb. 19 and signed by attorney Seth A. Kolton of the firm Shendell & Pollock, Rios demanded a trial by jury. Kolton declined to comment.

Rios, 78, is accused of forging ballot envelopes to try to keep his seat on the Belize condo association board on Marco Island in March 2019 after several condo owners reported having ballots cast in their names without their authorization or knowledge, court records show.

Ballot envelopes contained the personal identification information of the victims, including their names, condo numbers and forged signatures, and a lab analysis of envelopes discovered a DNA profile that matched Rios, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement news release.

Rios turned himself into the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Department of Corrections on Feb. 5 on three counts of forgery of a ballot envelope and three counts of criminal use of personal identification information, according to the release.

Rios was elected to City Council in 2014 and was reelected in 2018, serving as vice chairman in 2019. His second term was set to expire in 2022.

Prior to his time as councilor, Rios volunteered with the city's beach advisory committee for three years and Collier County's coastal advisory committee for eight years, according to the city's website.

 A new court date had not been assigned as of Wednesday.

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