Feds: Correia Used Investor Funds to Buy Mercedes, Vacations, and More
BOSTON — The U.S. Attorney's Office of Massachusetts is filing federal fraud charges against Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling says Correia was arrested in Bridgewater at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday by members of the FBI, IRS, and HUD.
According to the indictment issued on October 4 by a Bristol County Grand Jury, Correia defrauded investors of hundreds of thousands of dollars which he used to fund his "lavish lifestyle" and his political campaign.
In 2012, three years prior to Correia's election to the mayor's office, Correia founded SnoOwl, an app designed to connect local businesses to their target consumer market.
In January of 2013, Correia began seeking investors to provide funding for the app's development in return for equity in the company. In order to procure funding, Correia falsely told potential investors he had sold another app, FindIt Networks, to Facebook for a large profit.
Correia was successful in obtaining seven investors, who in total gave Correia approximately $363,690 to complete the SnoOwl app.
The indictment states that Correia used over $231,000 for large and lavish purchases including a 2011 Mercedes Benz, jewelry, designer clothes, student loan payments, political campaign financing, travel, and adult entertainment. The purchases were made between 2013 and 2015.
U.S. Attorney Lelling says that in February of 2015, Correia filed false 2013 and 2014 personal tax returns by failing to report the diverted SnoOwl investor funds and other received income. In May of 2017, Lelling says Correia became aware that he and SnoOwl were the subjects of a federal investigation, and filed false 2013 and 2014 amended tax returns in which he understated his actual income and claimed false business losses.
Correia faces nine counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns.