Occultist accused of homeless voter scheme in California mayor bid
A poll worker places vote-by-mail ballots into a ballot box at the Miami-Dade Election Department headquarters on October 14, 2020 (AFP)

An occult author who ran for mayor in a California town has been charged with fraudulently using the names of thousands of homeless people in a scheme to get himself elected, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Carlos Antonio De Bourbon Montenegro -- who describes himself as a "ceremonial high magician and occult book author" on his Amazon profile -- is accused of trying to rig the municipal poll in Hawthorne, a city in Los Angeles county.

Montenegro "allegedly submitted more than 8,000 fraudulent voter registration applications between July and October 2020" and faces more than 40 charges, a Los Angeles County prosecutor's office statement said.

He used post office boxes he had opened for the purpose as well as his own home address in a bid to secure the ballots, according to the indictment.

The 53-year-old is also accused of falsifying nomination documents required to submit his candidacy for the mayoral race by using signatures and addresses of "fictitious, non-existent or deceased persons."

If convicted, Montenegro could face more than 15 years in prison, while his alleged accomplice Marcos Raul Arevalo, 34, faces seven years on lesser charges.

The two men were scheduled to be formally charged later on Tuesday.