The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston confirmed that the Mayor of Fall River, Jasiel Correia, was taken into police custody under the suspicion of defrauding investors.
According to initial reports, Mayor Correia reportedly stole around $230,000 from various investors who believed they were funding an internet startup company. The money never went to the startup company. Instead, it was allegedly spent by the suspect to support his “lavish lifestyle and political campaign.” A federal indictment that was unsealed on October 11th showed a substantial chunk of the funds reportedly went directly to designer clothing, an expensive Mercedes-Benz and adult entertainment.
The mayor had developed a working prototype for an internet application, and he was still accepting money from investors. Despite this, he was not pushing towards the project’s completion. SnoOwl, the company he founded in 2012, began seeking investments back in January of 2013. He promised investors equity in the business. Several years later in 2015, he was elected mayor. He continued to state that SnoOwl was in good standing and that investor’s money was going towards the app.
In response, the mayor has been charged with four counts of filing false tax returns and nine counts of wire fraud. It became apparent that the mayor filed false tax returns in both 2013 and 2014. Later in 2017, he corrected the mistakes by filing amended returns after he realized SnoOwl was being investigated by the federal government. Mayor Correia is arguing that at “no time did I ever mislead our investors,” and he also stated that his app was completed and approved by Apple’s App Store.