BOSTON (Reuters) – A former Massachusetts mayor first elected at age 23 was sentenced on Tuesday to six years in prison after being convicted in May of defrauding investors in a smartphone app company and extorting money from local marijuana businesses.
Former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia, now 29, said nothing as U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock in Boston ordered him to be incarcerated for engaging in “reprehensible corruption of a type that is incomprehensibly crude.”
Correia’s lawyer, William Fick, argued that his client’s youth impeded his ability to know better and urged Woodlock to give him just three years in prison, saying his history “suggests there is at least hope.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Hafer argued 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.
Correia was elected in 2015 as the youngest mayor ever of Fall River. His case was featured in “Run This City,” a documentary series produced by Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg on the now-defunct streaming site Quibi.
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 https://www.reuters.com/business/legal/former-massachusetts-mayor-convicted-fraud-extortion-2021-05-14 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.
Correia is expected to appeal his conviction on the remaining 13 counts.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Will Dunham)