Today Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia was arrested by the FBI for extorting bribes from marijuana vendors for the right to open up shops in the city, along with a variety of other charges.
I’d be remiss if I did not point out that last October Turtleboy Sports published a blog after Correia’s arrest for defrauding investors in his app, that included information from a tipster that Correia’s fraud largely came from bribes he received from potential marijuana vendors in Fall River.
I have been following Jasiel Correia for several years, now. Since right before his initial campaign run. I am an app developer, who also acts as an investor for promising technology in the South Shore area. The thing that caught my eye about Mr. Correia, was that he was not going through traditional investment channels. He was not attending business development conferences or networking events. He doesn’t have any noteworthy familial connections, nor impressive alumni from Providence College. He didn’t even attend an event at Providence College specifically to connect entrepreneurs with investors like me.
Then one day, he fucked up. He lapsed on his payment for his GitHub account, and all of his code repos were temporarily public. I got a glimpse of all the code backing SnoOwl, and it’s exactly what I guessed: a cookie-cutter app template he purchased for $45, and a handful of cheap $5/hr Indian developers off Upwork committing updates that were simple enough to swap out colors & logos, while mimicking the promised functionality. All-in-all, there was under $200 worth of “work” done on the app, none of which was done by him.
So how did this kid with no connections, and no skills, and no working PoC, manage to raise that amount of money? Curiosity got the best of me. The investors in this area are a tight-knit social circle. We all know each other, we all get drinks together, we all compete together for the best investments, and talk shit together about the worst. However, I don’t know the investors in SnoOwl — and neither did anyone else that I associate with.
Not a single dime was “invested” in SnoOwl because they thought the app was promising. These were flat-out bribes, and the monthly cash injections were directly keeping Correia on their payroll. The Feds, DoJ, IRS, staties, etc. all know this. Each of his “investors” is significantly more interesting than Jasiel Correia himself. It’s a cabal of corrupt business owners and politicians, all of which will come crumbling down publicly, thanks to their associations with this kid.
I’m not privy to the full extent of what the deals were, but my understanding that it was an exchange of “investing” money with Jasiel, in exchange for business incentives (i.e., city contracts, tax incentives, etc.). Turns out that Jasiel didn’t have nearly as much power as he was claiming to have, and wasn’t able to fulfill his back-room promises. Then when the “investors” wanted refunds, Jasiel couldn’t do it, because he already squandered all of it.
From this Turtleboy inferred that the “investors” were actually marijuana vendors.
Here’s another thing to keep in mind – Fall River just granted three companies licenses to sell medical marijuana in Fall River. Sure, it could be a coincidence, but there is a lot of money to be made in marijuana. Does anyone really think after watching Correia’s press conference that it’s above him to promise some investor that they’ll get a license to grow in the city, and then not deliver for them because he doesn’t have that power?
No other media outlet took that angle, and it turned out to be 100% accurate.
US Attorney Andrew Lelling has been aggressive in going after corrupt public officials. Recently he has brought forth charges against former State Police Union boss Dana Pullman and Newton Judge Shelley Joseph for her role in allowing an illlegaly immigrant to avoid arrest from ICE by allowing him to sneak out the back door of the courthouse. Today he held a press conference outlining the allegations against Correia.
- Correia “has run that town as a pay to play institution” in Fall River as Mayor.
- Marijuana vendors need non-opposition letters from the mayor, which Correia would give only if he got paid.
- Correia lied to marijuana vendors by saying that he was limiting the non-opposition letters to only 5 or 6, in order to artificially inflate the value of those letters and thereby pump the vendors for more cash
- Correia has issued 14 letters, including two to his girlfriend’s brother.
- Correia extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars through middle men ranging from $25K to $250K to get the non-opposition letters
- Correia also took payment in the form of marijuana on at least one occasion
- 2016-2018 he did this to 4 separate vendors totaling over $600,000 cash payments
- Some involved Correia getting a cut for future vendor sales
- A vendor agreed to have friends and family make donations to mayoral campaign over $12K
- Correia showed up at vendor’s place of business with chief of staff Genoveva Andrade and asked for $250K for a non-opposition letter
- Correia was handed $75K in cash in the back of a car and then handed over a non-opposition letter in an envelope
- Correia told a vendor that he would reduce the vendor’s annual payment to the city (supposed to be 3% of gross sales) if he was paid a $25K bribe
- 2016 associate of Correia bought property on Killburn Street then needed permits and excavation permits for sprinkler system, gave Correia a $10K Batman rolex and $4K cash to Correia that Correia’s campaign had paid the man to rent space in that building in order to get the permits
- Correia got kick backs from his chief of staff Andrade (half of $78K salary) paycheck by paycheck, as a condition for getting and keeping her job, along with 100% of her annual stipend
- Mayoral Aide 1 told Middleman 1 to put the money in a shed behind Mayoral Aide 1′s house on July 7, 2018. After retrieving the envelope in Correia’s presence, Mayoral Aide 1 returned it to Middleman 1 saying Correia thought it was “fed money.
- Correia drove to Middleman 1′s house 4-5 times in his government vehicle to pick up cash payments of $10,000 to $20,000 each
- 4 other associates are also charged
- Hildegard Camara, employed in his administration, conspired with Correia to extort marijuana vendors. Camara’s brother Joseph is a long time City Councillor who recently ran against Jasiel in the recall election and won 14.5% of the vote, finishing in third, but dividing the anti-Jasiel vote which enabled him to win with just 35% of the vote.
- Tony Costa, owns property in Fall River, friend of Correia, and worked with Correai to extort marijuana vendors
- David Hebert owns property in Fall River, friend of Correia, and worked with Correai to extort marijuana vendors
- Gen Andrade, conspired with Correia to extort marijuana vendors and others
- All gave false statement to investigators during course of investigation
- Andrade told a marijuana vendor, “you’re family now” after extorting a bribe from them
- Jasiel underpaid taxes to conceal fraud in 2013 and 2014
Jasiel Correia is not only the most corrupt politician we’ve ever seen, he’s also the dumbest. Anyone who’s ever watched The Wire knows you don’t go near the money. And how pathetic is his chief of staff? She gave him half of her $78K salary? She’s making barely more than a Walmart greeter, and she risked federal charges in order to maintain that job. Wicked smart.
What we have here is evidence as to why democracy is an ineffective form of government. The fact that someone as dumb and brazen as Jasiel Correia could be elected three times, despite an FBI arrest, tells you everything you need to know about the voters in Fall River. This is the same guy who brought a mob with him to shout down the press after his initial arrest.
These are people who vote entirely on ethnic lines. Jasiel is Portuguese in a city that’s largely Portuguese. Nothing else matters, which you can see as people are still endorsing him.
This is why democracy should be banned. This is why we have an electoral college. Because people like this are allowed to vote, and there are a lot of them. Old ladies who have never left Fall River and grow grapes in their backyard. Until we start taking away voting rights from people like this we can never faith in a democracy.
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