After a grueling 3 week trial, today the disgraced former Mayor of Fall River, Jasiel Correia, learned his fate at the hands of a federal jury of his peers; guilty on 21 counts of a 24 count indictment.
Correia was found guilty of 12 counts related to defrauding investors in his company SnoOwl and 9 counts of extorting cannabis vendors. Correia was found not guilty on 2 counts of conspiracy related to a Rolex watch being given in exchange for city work and 1 count of bribery related to forcing his chief of staff to turn over half her salary in exchange for her position.
The former Mayor will be sentenced on Monday, September 20th, of 2021.
In the tense final moments before the verdict was read aloud in open court, US Assistant Attorney General Tobin paced back and forth through the isles of the empty courtroom while Correia's defense attorney, Kevin Reddington, sat stone-faced alongside his client in nervous anticipation.
After the verdict was read, Correia stood in a prolonged embrace with his family (the only members of the public allowed inside the courtroom while the verdict was read). The now-convicted Correia will be placed on an electronic ankle monitor pending sentencing, but will be allowed to remain free on bond.
The verdict ends a saga dating back nearly 7 years for the then-23 year old Mayoral prodigy who quickly fell from grace following two arrests; one extortion charges -- related to the issuing of cannabis licenses in the city -- by Federal authorities in September of 2019 and another arrest in 2018 related to the defrauding of SnoOwl investors.
During the trial, IRS Special Agent Lemasnki testified in court that Correia spent 64% of the $300,000+ he raised from investors for SnoOwl on personal expenses (including the purchase of a $10k Mercedes-Benz, lavish gifts for Correia's then-girlfriend, and extended stays at luxury resorts including Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod and the Intercontinental Hotel Chain in Boston and Washington D.C).
The trial took place in Boston at the Federal Courthouse under the supervision of U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock and lasted four weeks in total, including jury deliberations.
A central issue in the case was Correia's alleged extortion of cannabis companies in Fall River who had sought the then-Mayor's signature on a "letter of non-opposition" needed to open a cannabis establishment in the City.
Corriea and his staff, prosecutors allege, demanded cash bribes (and, in one case, a bribe in the form of cannabis flower) from the companies seeking those letters of non-opposition.
Correia faced a total of 12 counts during the trial, including tax fraud related to SnoOwl, along with a further 9 counts related extortion and bribery of local cannabis companies. A further 3 counts related to extortion of a Rolex watch from a local shop owner and an allegation that Correia forced his chief of staff to hand over half her salary in exchange for her job.
According to a press release from Federal officials at the time, Correia was "arrested and charged for allegedly extorting marijuana vendors for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes; extorting a building owner for cash and a Rolex watch in exchange for activating the water supply to a commercial building; and demanding that his chief of staff give him half of her salary in return for appointing her and allowing her to keep her city job".