Fall River, Massachusetts mayor was arrested yesterday on charges for conspiracy to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from cannabis business enterprise permit applicants.
Jasiel “Jassy” Correia accepted bribes in exchange for official “non-opposition” letters which authorized the corporations to operate legal cannabis organizations. Correia turned the city’s budding cannabis market 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 business enterprise is in a permissible zoning district.
The case is getting investigated by the FBI and IRS. Final month, the FBI issued a statement requesting suggestions on public corruption in the cannabis market.
“Without hesitation, Mayor Correia was extorting marijuana vendor right 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 dollars from his bank that Correia feared it was “Fed dollars.”
In yet another instance, Correia walked into an applicant’s workplace and outright asked for $250,000 to concern an approval letter. Correia was also paid $75,000 in money though sitting in the backseat of a automobile, then straight away handed more than the signed letter, says Lelling.
Correia also accepted money and a $10,000 Batman Rolex from a home 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, which includes former chief of employees Genoveva Andrade. The mayor allegedly essential that Andrade gave him half of her salary.
According to the indictment, final summer season, 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 info about cannabis market corruption.
Correia referred to as the charges “politically motivated” and plead not guilty.