Correia’s attorneys ask for 3-year sentence in fraud, extortion case

SE Mass

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — When former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia heads to court next week for sentencing, federal prosecutors will seek to put him in prison for more than a decade, but he’s hoping to spend less time behind bars.

On Monday, Correia’s attorneys filed a memorandum asking the judge to sentence him to three years in prison plus probation and payment of restitution, saying their client deserves a shot at redemption.

Correia, 29, was on trial earlier this year for defrauding investors in his now-defunct startup company (an app called SnoOwl) and extorting entrepreneurs seeking to open marijuana businesses in Fall River. He was convicted in May of 21 criminal counts of extortion, fraud, filing false tax returns, and conspiracy.

In the memo, Correia’s attorneys conceded that while he was found guilty of “very serious crimes” that affected the whole community, they believe he can’t be defined only as a “crooked politician” or “thief,” saying he’s also a devoted member of his family and was an accomplished mayor otherwise.

“This case evokes the legend of Icarus. Mr. Correia flew early, high, and fast. The verdict points to a hubristic loss of moral compass and, now, a crash into the sea. But Mr. Correia’s story need not end there,” the attorneys wrote. “The proposed sentence imposes just punishment and makes an example of Mr. Correia while still affording him a meaningful opportunity for redemption as a relatively young man.”

Noting that Correia is still in his 20s, the attorneys said their client has “great potential to learn from this chapter of his life, make amends, fulfill has financial obligations, and contribute constructively to his family and community in the years ahead.”

Prosecutors in the case filed a sentencing memo on Friday asking the judge to sentence Correia to 11 years in prison followed by supervised release. They’ve also requested that he pay nearly $300,000 in restitution to SnowOwl investors, $20,000 to the IRS, and forfeit another $566,000.

In their argument for a sentence of three years, Correia’s attorneys drew comparisons to the imposed punishments in similar cases, pointing specifically at the late Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci’s 2002 sentence of 64 months for public corruption.

The memo also included letters of support from Correia’s family, which revealed he got married after his conviction. His now wife Jenny wrote that she’s afraid she won’t be able to have children with Correia if he goes to prison for a long time.

Correia has been out on bail with an ankle monitor since his conviction. His scheduling is sentenced for Monday, Sept. 20.

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