North Miami Beach Democrat Mayor Anthony DeFillipo was arrested and charged with illegal voting earlier this week as he faces up to 15 years in prison.
The charges stem from allegations that DeFillipo cast ballots in a North Miami Beach district, despite no longer being a resident.
Each count carries a five-year prison sentence, five years probation, and $5,000 in fines.
State Attorney provided details on the three felony charges for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
She stated, “We believe the evidence shows (DeFillipo) voted illegally three times.”
Rundle explained that Fillipo had cast ballots in August, October, and November 2022 for a district he was no longer a resident of.
Police used cell phone data to track the Democrat Mayor on the days he was taking part in the illegal voting, finding his presence in Miami-Dade before he traveled to cast his ballot.
“We in law enforcement take actions that violate our election laws very seriously. They are crimes. Today, we are charging Anthony DeFillipo, the present Mayor North Miami Beach, with 3 counts of Unqualified Voters Willfully Voting, 3rd-degree felonies,” said Kathy Rundle.
DeFillipo, 51, was first elected in 2018. He previously served as a city commissioner from May 2013 to November 2018.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office confirmed DeFillipo’s arrest just before 10 a.m. Wednesday, holding a news conference Wednesday afternoon on his arrest for “voting irregularities.”
DeFillipo is accused of voting using a North Miami Beach address despite selling the property in 2021.
According to jail records, the mayor was booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center late Wednesday morning on three criminal charges. He was later released on a $15,000 bond.
“Deliberately swearing to false information as alleged in this case eats at the credibility of our voting and electoral systems,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said at Wednesday’s news conference.
DeFillipo has faced questions recently regarding where exactly he lives. Local 10 News has learned he has two homes in Davie that he owns with his wife. But he’s always maintained that he is a resident of North Miami Beach.
Fernandez Rundle said cell phone pings placed him in Davie on three 2022 election days before he traveled to North Miami Beach to vote: the August primary, October early voting for the general election and a November runoff race.
The mayor’s attorney, Michael Pizzi, speaking to local media outside TGK Wednesday, called the charges against his client a “political hit job,” saying DeFillipo “has spent the last two years fighting against massive corruption and fraud.”
“As a result of that, his political opponents, their campaign workers filed a complaint with the ethics commission saying the mayor was not living in North Miami Beach,” Pizzi said.
Pizzi, a former Miami Lakes mayor once acquitted in a federal corruption case, added that DeFillipo “has a right to own property” and “answered these questions a hundred times on the dais and under oath.”
DeFillipo’s arrest comes following the city commission being in turmoil in recent weeks, with the city manager being fired without cause, as well as the panel being unable to conduct city business because they couldn’t muster a quorum due to not enough commissioners being present.
In that case, Commissioner Michael Joseph was ousted for missing meetings for more than 120 days, which is a violation of the city charter.
DeFillipo became the third North Miami Beach city official arrested in a matter of weeks. Thirty-three-year-old public affairs staffer Jennifer Hillmon and 36-year-old HR head Andrew Bejel were both accused of stealing Publix gift cards intended for a city giveaway to residents.
In a statement late Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the city of North Miami Beach addressed residents, saying city officials “will watch closely as the legal process runs its course.”
“To rebuild trust in this community is no small feat, however, we are focused on earning your confidence back,” the statement reads. “NMB is a resilient community, and together we will emerge stronger from this. We thank you for your continued support as we work towards a more transparent and accountable city government.”