Young mayor faces fraud charges

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - WORLD - BOB SALSBERG

BOS­TON — A Mass­a­chu­setts mayor who was first elected at age 23 was ar­rested Thurs­day and charged with de­fraud­ing in­vestors in a com­pany he formed out of more than $230,000 and us­ing the funds to en­hance his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer and pay for a lav­ish life­style, fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors said.

A newly un­sealed 13-count in­dict­ment charges Jasiel Cor­reia, the Demo­cratic two-term mayor of Fall River, Mass., with wire fraud and fil­ing false tax re­turns.

Phone and email mes­sages left with Cor­reia’s of­fice and his de­fence at­tor­ney were not im­me­di­ately re­turned.

Ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment, Cor­reia founded SnoOwl, a com­pany that was de­vel­op­ing an app to help busi­nesses con­nect with tar­get con­sumers, in 2012.

Be­gin­ning around Jan­uary 2013, ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment, Cor­reia be­gan seek­ing in­vestors for the com­pany and “per­pe­trated a scheme to de­fraud the SnoOwl in­vestors by mak­ing false rep­re­sen­ta­tions and di­vert­ing a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the in­vestors’ funds to him­self.”

The pro­ceeds were used to “fund his own lav­ish life­style, bur­geon­ing po­lit­i­cal ca­reer, and the needs of his other busi­ness ven­tures,” the in­dict­ment states.

Pros­e­cu­tors al­lege that from 2013-2015, Cor­reia stole at least $231,447 from seven in­vestors in SnoOwl. He used the money, the in­dict­ment says, to pur­chase tens of thou­sands of dol­lars of lux­ury items, in­clud­ing jew­elry, cars and cloth­ing; to pay for per­sonal travel and en­ter­tain­ment; to pay down his stu­dent loan debt; and to make char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions in his own name.

The mayor “con­cealed his ill­got­ten gains from the IRS,” ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment.

In Septem­ber 2017, Cor­reia con­firmed to the Fall River Her­ald that he was the sub­ject of a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­gard­ing the com­pany. He de­nied wrong­do­ing at the time and said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was brought on by po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents.

Now 26, Cor­reia was first elected as a city coun­cil­lor in 2013 and af­ter one term was elected mayor in 2015, the youngest mayor in the city’s his­tory. The U.S. Con­fer­ence of May­ors said at the time he was the youngest mayor to run a city as large as Fall River.

He won re-elec­tion hand­ily last Novem­ber.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILES

Fall River, Mass., Mayor Jasiel Cor­reia has been charged with de­fraud­ing in­vestors in a com­pany he formed out of more than $230,000.

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