By Staff Writer Elijah Santos.
On October 11, 2018, the mayor of Fall River, Jasiel Correia II, was arrested and charged with 13 federal charges of fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. These charges would come after his alleged scheme to defraud investors from his developing app, SnoOwl. Following these allegations, investigators say Correia had filed false tax returns in 2013 and 2014 and neglected to mention SnoOwl entirely, then amended those returns in May 2017 “after learning that he and SnoOwl were targets of a federal investigation.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office came out and said that out of Correia’s $363,690 in investment money, he spent at least $231,447 “to fund his own lavish lifestyle, burgeoning political career, and the needs of his other business ventures.”
Correia had promoted Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito for reelection in November, but since these allegations, his endorsement has since been removed from their website. Yet, Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito commented on this matter on behalf of their campaign spokeman Terry MacCormack saying they “believe these federal charges are very serious and will continue to work with other local officials and the people of Fall River to ensure the city has the representation and leadership it deserves as this legal process moves forward.”
Since Correia’s arrest on October 11, Correia was arraigned in federal court. A judge has ordered his release and his case will continue on December 6.
Correia has since returned to Fall River’s City Hall to continue his work. After many questions regarding the arrest, Correia came out of his office and allowed multiple news outlets show up to Fall River’s City Hall allowing them to listen. Correia denied the charges and said he would not resign. “I’ve done nothing wrong, if look at my track record as mayor all you see is positive results,” he retorted. He left before many could ask questions, but he has made it clear his intentions after his reelection.
Correia was sworn in for his two-year term last January after 65% of Fall River voted for him, but these charges are starting to bring negative light to Fall River.
The Torch took to the streets to see what Fall River residents attending UMass Dartmouth thought. Firt-year student, Noah Aragao, enrolled as a computer engineer major, believes, “yes, Correia should resign, for the sake of all of us trying to improve Fall River.” Support for Correia’s resignation seemed to be a reoccurring theme. Out of the 15 students we had asked all but one agreed on his resignation. A first-year UMass Dartmouth student who wishes to remain anonymous said, “I would consider what Correia did to be fraud if he had taken all the money investors gave him and spent it on a cool lifestyle, but he only used a piece of it. It doesn’t seem like he broke the law, but I’m no judge.”
Correia will be faced with an incredibly difficult battle. At the age of 27 and the youngest mayor Fall River has ever seen, his political reputation hangs on by thread, and what seemed to be a promising political figure, could fall short and he could just be another name to add to the list of corrupt politicians.
PHOTO COURTESY: WJAR.COM