On Thursday, Jasiel Correia, the 26-year-old Democratic mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts, was arrested on 13 federal fraud charges, accused of defrauding investors and using the money to fund his “lavish lifestyle.”
In 2012, Correia launched a company called SnoOwl and claimed to be developing an app that connected local businesses with potential customers, CBS Boston reports. Federal prosecutors allege that he was able to raise $363,690 from seven investors, and from January 2013 to May 2017, diverted at least $231,447 to himself, spending the money on a Mercedes Benz, fancy hotel rooms, jewelry for a former girlfriend, and adult entertainment. He also allegedly filed false tax returns in 2013 and 2014, only amending them in 2017 when he learned he was under federal investigation.
“Mr. Correia blurred the lines between his private business and public duties, using investor funds as his own personal ATM, systemically looting almost one-quarter of $1 million,” FBI special agent in charge Harold Shaw said. Correia’s actions were “underhanded, shameless, and greedy,” he said, and “brought undeserved shame and embarrassment upon the city of Fall River.” Correia served on the city council for two years before being elected mayor in November 2015. He has denied any wrongdoing and said he will not resign. He was released on Thursday, and his case has been continued until Dec. 6.
SOURCE: The Week, Catherine Garcia