Fall River, Massachusetts mayor was arrested yesterday on charges for conspiracy to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from cannabis small business permit applicants.
Jasiel “Jassy” Correia accepted bribes in exchange for official “non-opposition” letters which authorized the firms to operate legal cannabis organizations. Correia turned the city’s budding cannabis business into a spend-for-play, accepting a total of $600,000 from at least four businessmen.
The non-opposition letters are essential by state law to confirm that the small business is in a permissible zoning district.
The case is getting investigated by the FBI and IRS. Final month, the FBI issued a statement requesting strategies on public corruption in the cannabis business.
“Without hesitation, Mayor Correia was extorting marijuana vendor just after marijuana vendor,” U.S. Lawyer for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling stated following Correia’s arrest on Friday, September 6th.
A single bribe was left behind Correia’s shed at his residence, by request of the mayor’s aide. Correia allegedly turned down the $25,000 money bribe the aide told the businessman who withdrew the revenue from his bank that Correia feared it was “Fed revenue.”
In a different instance, Correia walked into an applicant’s workplace and outright asked for $250,000 to situation an approval letter. Correia was also paid $75,000 in money whilst sitting in the backseat of a car or truck, then right away handed more than the signed letter, says Lelling.
Correia also accepted money and a $10,000 Batman Rolex from a house owner. The Batman Rolex is named for its blue and black watch face which matches the incognito vigilante’s garb.
Of the 14 letters penned by Correia, two signed letters had been issued to his girlfriend’s brother. It has not been disclosed no matter if the brother’s letters had been granted below illegal situations.
4 other associates of the mayor are getting charged in the indictment for extortion and bribery, like former chief of employees Genoveva Andrade. The mayor allegedly essential that Andrade gave him half of her salary.
According to the indictment, final summer time, Andrade told a marijuana vendor, “there are lots of sleazy factors the mayor has going on” adding that Correia had a secure with “hundreds of thousands” of dollars from bribes.
The charges come after the FBI issued a request for details about cannabis business corruption.
Correia named the charges “politically motivated” and plead not guilty.