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A judge has sentenced a former corrupt Democrat mayor to six years in prison for “reprehensible” corruption while he was in office.
Former Fall River Democrat Mayor Jasiel Correia has been sentenced after being convicted in May of defrauding investors in a smartphone app company and extorting money from local marijuana businesses.
U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock in Boston, Massachusetts, ordered him to be incarcerated for engaging in “reprehensible corruption of a type that is incomprehensibly crude.”
“What I have before me is an absolute lack of remorse,’’ said Woodlock before calling Correia’s corruption scheme “a corrosive crime, it undercuts, it eviscerates a community. If we can’t trust each other if we can’t trust our government, where are we? This is at the core of who we are.”
“There is no showing of actual innocence,” Woodlock said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Hafer argued before the sentencing that Correia’s “old-school corruption” warranted an 11-year prison term, saying he continued breaking the law even when he knew was under investigation.
“That is the height of chutzpah,” Hafer said.
“The betrayal of people who considered him like family, the pervasive lying, cheating, stealing, and blame-shifting, and the egregious breaches of the public trust must be met with a sentence that thoroughly repudiates the defendant’s abhorrent conduct and deters both this defendant and others like him from doing it again,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum to the court.
BREAKING: Judge Woodlock says he will sentence Jasiel Correia to 6 years in prison, roughly half of what the sentencing guidelines suggested
Forfeiture and restitution dollar amounts to be determined
— Steph Machado (@StephMachado) September 21, 2021
Prosecutors said that before being elected mayor, Correia, a young Providence College graduate, lured investors into sinking $363,690 into SnoOwl, a company developing an app to connect local businesses with consumers.
Prosecutors said Correia stole more than $231,000 to fund his campaign and a lavish lifestyle that included a luxury Mercedes-Benz vehicle, jewelry, casino trips, and strip clubs.
Prosecutors also said that after Correia was elected mayor, he extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana companies seeking licenses to open in Fall River.
A jury found Correia guilty on 21 charges including wire fraud, filing false tax returns, and extortion. The judge this week threw out eight of Correia’s wire and tax fraud convictions, finding that prosecutors failed to prove them.
In addition to 11 years in prison, prosecutors are also seeking two years of supervised release, more than $20,000 in restitution to the IRS, $566,740 in forfeiture, and close to $300,000 in restitution to five investors who lost money they put into SnoOwl.
Former Fall River Democrat Mayor Jasiel Correia found guilty of stealing from investors, soliciting bribes from marijuana vendors https://t.co/zyGHWpSdXq
— Kitchen Table Politics (@TheKTofPolitics) May 16, 2021
Correia remained defiant, telling reporters after his conviction that “the justice system failed us. I’m not guilty.”
The defense had sought three years, telling the judge that Correia did a good job for Fall River while serving as the mayor.
“None of that excuses what happened here, but I think it’s required to have a fuller picture of the man and to understand how somebody might get derailed but still have hope to contribute in a future chapter of life,” Attorney William Fick said.