Fall River, Mass., Mayor Jasiel Correia, 27, was re-elected and recalled in a stunning turn of events Tuesday. (Associated Press)
Mayor Jasiel Correia, 27, faced a recall vote after refusing to step down last year when he was charged with filing false tax returns and stealing $231,447 from investors to fund a lavish lifestyle.
The recall ballot contained two questions: whether Correia should be recalled and who among five candidates, including the embattled Democrat, should become the new mayor of Fall River. Voters were able to choose any mayoral candidate regardless of how they voted on the recall question.
Correia was recalled with 61 percent of the vote on the first question, WPRI-TV of Providence reported, citing uncertified results. But 35 percent of voters then chose to re-elect Correia on the second question, with the incumbent narrowly beating out runner-up Paul Coogan by about 1 percent, the station reported.
Following the results, Correia vowed to earn back the trust of Fall River's roughly 85,000 residents.
Prosecutors allege that Correia persuaded seven people to invest $363,690 in the development of an app, SnoOwl, meant to connect businesses with customers.
Correia allegedly stole $231,447 from investors to bankroll a lavish lifestyle and advance his political career. He allegedly spent the money on designer clothes, a Mercedes-Benz automobile, jewelry, his mayoral campaign, travel, student loan and credit card payments, casinos and adult entertainment.
The mayor, who was first elected in 2015, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court to charges of wire fraud and filing false tax returns. When he refused to step down, about 4,500 Fall River voters signed a petition to force a recall vote.
It marked the second time in five years that Fall River residents were deciding on the early ouster of a sitting mayor. William Flanagan was recalled in 2014 by voters angry over trash collection fees, fire department layoffs, and his alleged use of a gun to intimidate Correia, WPRI reported.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and the Associated Press contributed to this report.