FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A former Flagstaff mayoral candidate accused of forging petition signatures to appear on Tuesday’s primary ballot has been indicted on fraud and other charges.

The indictment filed Thursday alleged Victor John Varela signed the names of six other people on his nominating petitions and turned in such documents knowing they contained false or forged information.

Varela didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the indictment.

In a July 9 post on social media, Varela said he was sorry and dropping out of the race. “It was never my intention to commit fraud or to cheat my way in,” Varela wrote. “I am not going to try to justify my behavior.”

His name will still appear on the ballot, because ballots had already been printed by the time he withdrew. But officials say any votes cast for Varela won’t be counted.

——— This story has been corrected to show the proper spelling of Varela, instead of Valera.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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