Mayor Jasiel F. Coreia II is a Democrat in Fall River, MA and a rising star in the Massachusetts Democratic Party, but he’s headed for a tumble.
Federal agents recently arrested Correia, on charges of theft for nearly a quarter of a million dollars from seven investors of his start-up company.
The Washington Post reported that Correia allegedly spent the money on “adult entertainment, airfare, a dating service, designer clothes, hotels, jewelry, trips to casinos and a Mercedes-Benz.”
Pleading not guilty to 13 counts of wire and tax fraud, Correia told reporters that it was “Not my best Thursday.”
Correia, 26, is the founder of SnoOwl, a smartphone app that connects businesses with consumers. He was elected mayor of Fall River at the age of 23 and says he does not plan to resign.
The indictment states:
Starting in approximately January 2013 and continuing until at least in or about May 17, 2017, Correia perpetrated a scheme to defraud the SnoOwl investors by making false representations and diverting a significant portion of the investors’ funds to himself, while neglecting the development of the company to focus on his political career. Of the approximately $363,690 Correia received from the seven individual SnoOwl investers, Correia used at least $231,447, approximately 64 percent of all money invested, to fund his own lavish lifestyle, burgeoning political career and the needs of his other business ventures.
The indictment also states that Correia allegedly failed to report any income from SnoOwl on his 2013 and 2014 personal tax returns.
“Today’s arrest is a shock to many in the city which has prided itself on a tradition of honest government, hard work, and public service,” Harold Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office, said at a news conference. “Yet its mayor was far from honest, selling out his friends and associates for his own personal gain. His actions were underhanded, shameless, and greedy.”
‘‘I look forward to my day in court to share my side of the story and to clear my name,’’ Correia wrote in a statement.
Correia attended Providence College in Rhode Island and in 2014 he was named entrepreneur of the year by the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce.