Former Fall River Mayor Sentenced to Six Years in Federal Prison | USAO-MA
BOSTON – Jasiel F. Correia II, the former mayor of Fall River, Mass., Was convicted today in a scheme to defraud investors and extort and conspire to extort marijuana sellers for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Correia, 29, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to six years in prison and three years on probation. The government recommended 11 years in prison. The judge postponed the judgment on the return and forfeiture to a later date.
On May 14, 2021, Correia was found guilty by a federal jury of nine counts of wire fraud, four counts of filing false income tax returns, four counts of extortion conspiracy and four counts of extortion. . Justice Woodlock dismissed six counts of wire fraud and two counts of filing false income tax returns, for which the jury convicted Correia.
In October 2018, Correia was charged with wire fraud and filing false income tax returns. He was then indicted in a substitute indictment in September 2019 for, among other crimes, extortion conspiracy and extortion.
“Jasiel Correia was a corrupt and deceptive politician who could only be stopped by federal prosecution. Now he’s a criminal and will be a federal inmate, ”said Nathaniel R. Mendell, Acting US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. “Sir. Correia lied to investors, sold his office and has no remorse for his crimes. This warrants a significant prison sentence, which is why the government has recommended an 11-year sentence.
“Jasiel Correia’s conscious decision to rob investors, extort hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and cheat on his taxes has now cost him his freedom. He turned out to be a pervasive liar who showed absolutely no remorse or empathy for his victims, and today he has been held accountable. Unfortunately, his actions further eroded public confidence in the government and deeply hurt the citizens of Fall River, ”said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “May his sentence brutally remind you that if you commit crimes, your elected status will not protect you. The FBI is committed to rooting out public corruption and holding officials like him to account. “
“As Mayor of Fall River, Jasiel Correia had the public trust in his hands and was well positioned to serve those who elected him. Instead, he wasted this opportunity and was exposed as a corrupt politician, ”said Joleen D. Simpson, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations Division, Boston Field Office. “It is a shame that an individual with such a bright future has decided to abuse his elected office for personal gain. Today’s conviction sends a clear message that corrupt public officials will pay dearly for the choices they make.
“Jasiel Correia has abused the public trust,” said Massachusetts Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha. “His conviction should serve as a reminder that the Massachusetts Inspector General and our federal partners will ensure that officials who make money at the expense of the public pay a personal price.”
In 2012, Correia founded SnoOwl, an app designed to connect local businesses to their target consumer market. Seven people invested a total of approximately $ 360,000 in SnowOwl. Correia used around $ 230,000 – 64% of the money invested – to fund her own lavish lifestyle, burgeoning political career, and other ventures. Specifically, Correia used the investment funds to purchase tens of thousands of dollars of luxury items, including a Mercedes, designer jewelry and clothing; to pay for travel and personal entertainment, including tens of thousands of dollars in airline tickets, hotels, restaurants, casinos and adult entertainment; to pay off personal student loan debt; to finance his political campaign; and make charitable donations on its behalf.
To cover up its theft of funds from investors, Correia refused to provide the company’s financial records and gave falsely positive status updates on SnoOwl. Additionally, in May 2017, Correia asked an accountant to file amended personal income tax returns for 2013 and 2014 in an attempt to conceal his fraudulent activity from the IRS.
After taking office as mayor of Fall River in January 2016, Correia agreed to issue letters of no objection to marijuana vendors in exchange for cash bribes and other payments. Under Massachusetts law, letters of no objection from the head of the local government are required to obtain a license to operate a marijuana business. Correia, as mayor, was solely responsible for approving all letters of no opposition to Fall River. In addition, applicants seeking marijuana licenses are required to enter into agreements with the host community, between the marijuana company and the local government, that the company will cede up to 3% of its gross sales to the local government.
Four marijuana vendors agreed to pay bribes ranging from over $ 75,000 to $ 250,000 in cash, campaign contributions and mortgage releases to Correia and her co-conspirators in return for letters of no – opposition and agreements with the host community.
Acting US Attorney Mendell; FBI Boston SAC Bonavolonta; IRS-CI SAC Simpson; Christina Scaringi, Special Agent in charge of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Regional Office; and Massachusetts Inspector General Cunha made the announcement today. Assistant US prosecutors Zachary Hafer, David Tobin, Carol E. Head and Mark T. Quinlivan of Mendell’s office continued the case.