FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — In a scathing sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutors in Massachusetts called for former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia to spend more than a decade behind bars for fraud and extortion.
The memo, filed Friday in federal court, asked a judge to sentence Correia to 11 years in prison with an additional 24 months of supervised release. It also requests Correia pay $298,190 in restitution to SnoOwl investors and another $20,473 to the IRS, and a forfeiture of another $566,740.
A jury in May convicted the disgraced 29-year-old politician of 21 criminal counts, but acquitted him on three counts of bribery, extortion and conspiracy. He was released on bail with an ankle monitor pending sentencing on Sept. 20.
The initial case against Correia stemmed from his former tech startup SnoOwl, which prosecutors said he used to solicit money from investors, only to spend it on a “lavish lifestyle.” The former mayor was also convicted of extorting four businessmen who sought to open marijuana stores in Fall River but needed a letter of non-opposition from the mayor before they could proceed.
After he was convicted, Correia told reporters outside federal court in Boston that “eventually the real truth will come out.”
In his memo, Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Hafer wrote, “This is no ordinary case.”
“Unlike some crooked politicians who eventually accept responsibility, Correia remains defiant and in denial,” Hafer wrote, adding, “there is no justification or explanation – other than greed and hubris – for what he did.”
Portions of two victim impact statements were also included in the 11-page memo. Dr. David Cabeceiras, an investor in SnoOwl who was defrauded of $145,000, told the court Correia “took advantage of my kindness for nothing more than his personal gain and satisfaction.” Another investor, Stephen Miller, said the $70,000 Correia stole from him would have been for his retirement.
In the memo, the government said Correia’s actions were not only harmful to the victims, but to the general public.
Prosecutors even evoked a 1903 address by President Theodore Roosevelt in which he said, “there can be no offense heavier than that of him in whom such a sacred trust has been reposed, who sells it for his own gain and enrichment; and no less heavy is the offense of the bribe giver. He is worse than the thief, for the thief robs the individual, while the corrupt official plunders an entire city or State.”
“Correia now stands convicted before this Court as both a corrupt official and a thief,” Hafer wrote. “Thus, to be sufficient… his sentence must be substantial.”
Correia’s defense team has yet to file their own sentencing memorandum. Correia’s attorneys declined to comment Friday evening. Correia has appealed his conviction.
The most serious counts come with a maximum of 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock will be provided with a sentencing guideline range by federal probation officials to help determine a sentence, but he is free to hand down any punishment he sees fit.