Correia: ‘I’ve done nothing wrong’ while serving city
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.”
‘NOT MY BEST THURSDAY’: Fall River Mayor Jasiel F. Correia waves while leaving federal court yesterday with his lawyer, Mark Berthiaume.