Former Massachusetts mayor convicted of fraud and extortion by Reuters

© Reuters.

By Nate Raymond

BOSTON (Reuters) – A former Massachusetts mayor first elected at the age of 23 was convicted on Friday for defrauding investors in a smartphone app company and extorting money from local businesses in marijuana.

Jurors have found former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia guilty of most of the charges he has faced, including wire fraud, false tax filing and extortion, in what was the first high-profile federal trial in Boston since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He faces conviction on September 20. His lawyer, Kevin Reddington, who argued at trial that his client had “no intention of defrauding, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors said that prior to being elected, Correia betrayed investors who poured $ 363,690 into SnoOwl, a company developing an app to connect local businesses to consumers.

US Assistant Prosecutor Zach Hafer told jurors SnoOwl was a ‘con artist’ and Correia was accused of stealing over $ 231,000 to fund his campaign and a lavish lifestyle that included a Mercedes, jewelry, travel. at the casino and adult entertainment.

Prosecutors also said that after Correia was elected mayor in 2015, he extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana companies seeking licenses to open in Fall River.

Jurors acquitted him for forcing his own chief of staff to reimburse him half of his salary in exchange for his maintenance.

Correia’s case was featured in “Run This City,” a documentary series produced by Mark Wahlberg on the now defunct streaming site Quibi.

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