Cor­reia: ‘I’ve done noth­ing wrong’ while serv­ing city

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By LAU­REL J. SWEET, JOR­DAN GRA­HAM and JOR­DAN FRIAS — lau­rel.sweet@boston­her­ald.com

The mayor of Fall River, Jasiel F. Cor­reia II, ac­cused of de­fraud­ing in­vestors in his pri­vate com­pany of hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars to live a ritzy and glam­orous life, de­nied the al­le­ga­tions af­ter his early morn­ing ar­rest and ar­raign­ment yes­ter­day, and said he has no plans to re­sign.

“I’ve done noth­ing wrong. If you look at my track record as mayor, all you see is pos­i­tive re­sults. I was elected and re-elected with 65 per­cent of the vote in Fall River,” Cor­reia said to re­porters fol­low­ing his ar­raign­ment in U.S. District Court in the Sea­port. “If you look at those bo­gus charges, or what­ever they’re called, there’s not a sin­gle thing, af­ter an 18-month in­ves­ti­ga­tion, af­ter an elec­tion based on al­le­ga­tions, there’s not a sin­gle thing that the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice said in that 19-page in­dict­ment that I did wrong as mayor of the city of Fall River.”

Early yes­ter­day morn­ing, Cor­reia was ar­rested in Bridge­wa­ter on fraud and false tax re­turn charges stem­ming from a com­pany he founded called SnoOwl. Over the course of four years, be­gin­ning in 2013, U.S. At­tor­ney An­drew E. Lelling. said Cor­reia per­suaded seven peo­ple to in­vest $363,690 in the com­pany.

“Cor­reia, how­ever, di­verted more than $230,000 of that money — about 64 per­cent — to fund his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer and ex­trav­a­gant life­style, and the needs of his other busi­ness ven­tures,” Lelling said.

Lelling said Cor­reia also spent tens of thou­sands of dol­lars on lux­ury items such as a 2011 Mer­cedes-Benz C300 all­wheel-drive sport sedan, jew­elry for an ex-girl­friend and de­signer duds.

“This was not about poor ac­count­ing or hon­est mis­takes,” Lelling said. “Ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment, Cor­reia used in­vestor money to fund per­sonal travel and en­ter­tain­ment, spend­ing thou­sands of dol­lars on air­fare, lux­ury ho­tels, res­tau­rants, casi­nos, dat­ing ser­vices and adult en­ter­tain­ment.”

Lelling also said Cor­reia al­legedly used $10,000 of in­vestor money to fund his may­oral cam­paign and pay off stu­dent loans.

Cor­reia’s ar­rest came just hours af­ter he turned up at a per­for­mance by rap­per J. Cole at the op­u­lent Sea­port District celebrity haunt The Grand, next door to the fed­eral court­house where he was ar­raigned.

Yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, Cor­reia was re­leased on a $10,000 bond. He was also or­dered to turn over his pass­port and abide by sev­eral other con­di­tions. Dur­ing the ar­raign­ment, Cor­reia seemed re­laxed, smil­ing fre­quently.

Wear­ing a dark polo shirt and with dark, messy hair, Cor­reia slung his left arm over the back of his chair as the mag­is­trate judge and pros­e­cu­tors spoke about the con­di­tions of his re­lease un­til one of his at­tor­neys told him to stop.

Sev­eral min­utes later, Cor­reia was led out of the court­room in hand and an­kle cuffs. In the roughly 30 min­utes be­tween the ar­raign­ment and when he spoke to re­porters out­side the court­house, Cor­reia changed into a suit and tie.

“It’s not my best Thurs­day. It’s rain­ing to­day, it’s not my best Thurs­day. I don’t like to be out in the rain,” Cor­reia said. “You will see, when we have a trial, that I will be vin­di­cated.”

STAFF PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI

‘NOT MY BEST THURS­DAY’: Fall River Mayor Jasiel F. Cor­reia waves while leav­ing fed­eral court yes­ter­day with his lawyer, Mark Berthi­aume.

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