Fall River Mayor Charged With Tax Fraud Given 5 Days to Step Down

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia has until Dec. 26 to step down from his position after a unanimous vote by the city council

What to Know

  • Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia was charged with tax and wire fraud in October; he has since said he would only be removed through a recall.
  • Correia filed an objection to a recall petition that was certified by the city's Board of Elections last week.
  • Correia claims the signatures were forged or duplicated, and claims to have evidence recall organizers were not gathering signatures.

Fall River's mayor has been given five days to step down from his position after a unanimous vote from the Fall River City Council.

City Councilors unanimously voted Tuesday night to accept a motion to allow the city clerk to send Mayor Jasiel Correia a letter notifying he has to step down by Dec. 26.

The city Board of Elections previously certified 4,500 signatures -- nearly double what's required for a recall -- to recall Mayor Correia, who was charged with tax and wire fraud in October. 

Correia formally objected to the recall petition, claiming the signatures on the petition are invalid.

Prosecutors say Correia used investments in a company he formed to fund a lavish lifestyle.

But Correia refused to step down and said the only way he would be removed from office would be through a recall.

Correia alleges in his objection, which was filed Friday, that signatures collected for the recall petition were forged or duplicated. He also claims to have evidence that the organizers of the recall effort were not gathering signatures.

The Board of Elections certified the petition signatures last week, but Correia wanted their authenticity proved.

The Fall River City Council was expected to discuss the recall petition Tuesday night, and the city's Board of Election Commissioners is expected to discuss Correia's formal objection later this week.

Meanwhile, Correia saw some pushback from Fall River residents last week after he posted the signatures sent to the Board of Elections to his Facebook page to ask residents to review the list.

"Sadly this will scare people from exercising their rights as citizens," Fall River resident Kelly Duarte wrote. "God help anyone who has a protective order."

Recall organizer Joseph Pereira said he is outraged, but not surprised to hear the mayor is putting up a fight. He said his group collected more than enough signatures needed and they are not fake. He also said the mayor’s posting of personal information was an act of desperation and intimidation.

“It’s this chess game that we’re playing right now and he’s the only one that can stop it. Stop it,” Pereira said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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