A former Massachusetts mayor who was as soon as a rising Democratic star after being elected at age 23 has been sentenced to 6 years in jail in a corruption case
Former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia confirmed no emotion because the choose handed down his punishment after tossing a number of convictions stemming from allegations that the now 29-year-old swindled traders who backed a smartphone app he created.
U.S. District Decide Douglas Woodlock assailed Correia’s actions as old-style corruption that eviscerates a group. Underneath Correia’s watch, ”Metropolis Corridor was on the market,” mentioned the choose, who additionally criticized his “absolute lack of regret.”
“If we will’t belief one another, if we will’t belief our authorities, the place are we?” the choose requested.
Correia, who has insisted that he is harmless and that the “actual reality” will ultimately come out, didn’t make an announcement through the listening to in Boston federal courtroom as a result of he is nonetheless difficult his remaining convictions.
The protection had sought three years, telling the choose that whereas there isn’t any “sugarcoating” the case, Correia additionally did a lot good for Fall River.
“None of that excuses what occurred right here, however I feel it is required to have a fuller image of the person and to grasp how anyone may get derailed however nonetheless have hope to contribute in a future chapter of life,” Lawyer William Fick mentioned.
Correia is anticipated to report back to jail at a later date that has but to be determined.
Correia was convicted in Could of a slew of fees together with fraud and extortion after a trial that shone a light-weight on his meteoric rise to develop into mayor as a latest school graduate. Correia portrayed himself to voters as a profitable entrepreneur who may breathe new life into the struggling, previous mill metropolis.
Prosecutors advised jurors that in actuality Corriea funded his lavish way of life with cash he stole from traders who pumped money into his app known as “SnoOwl,” which was designed to assist companies join with customers. Prosecutors mentioned Correia took almost two-thirds of the just about $400,000 he received from traders and spent it on issues like fancy lodges and a Mercedes and to pay down his scholar loans.
After changing into mayor in 2016, prosecutors say Correia began a pay-to-play scheme involving bribes from marijuana distributors in alternate for letters of approval from the town they wanted as a way to get a license. Prosecutors have known as the corruption scheme significantly galling as a result of a lot of it occurred when the previous mayor knew he was already below investigation for the allegations of investor fraud.
Assistant U.S. Lawyer Zach Hafer — who requested for 11 years behind bars — questioned how something apart from greed and hubris may clarify Correia’s actions, noting that the previous politician had a supportive household and was making good cash as mayor.
“The money in clipboards and in envelopes and sheds. … Fall River below Jasiel Correia was like Atlantic Metropolis throughout Prohibition by way of the crudeness of the corruption,” Hafer mentioned.
Correia advised reporters outdoors the courthouse after his conviction that “the justice system failed us” and that he had turned down a plea deal as a result of, he mentioned: “I am not responsible.” Each the prosecutor and Correia’s trial legal professional mentioned Tuesday that Correia was by no means provided a plea settlement.
Correia was speculated to have been sentenced Monday, however the choose as a substitute agreed with new legal professionals employed by Correia after the trial to overturn the jury’s responsible verdict on a number of counts they mentioned the federal government didn’t show.
The choose agreed to toss six counts of wire fraud due to what he described as an absence of proof about how the checks had been processed. He additionally tossed two tax fraud counts as a result of he mentioned prosecutors did not show that Correia willfully filed false returns.
Correia stays convicted of a number of counts of wire fraud, extortion and extortion conspiracy. The jury acquitted him on three counts, together with accusations that he compelled his chief of workers to offer him half of her wage as a way to hold her metropolis job.
For months after his arrest, Correia resisted calls to go away workplace and survived a weird election in March 2019 throughout which he was recalled by voters and reelected the identical night time. However after federal brokers arrested him a second time — this time for the extortion scheme — he agreed in October 2019 to take a go away of absence. He was ousted by voters the following month.