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Democrat Massachusetts Mayor Arrested for Allegedly Extorting Marijuana Vendors

Democrat Massachusetts Mayor Arrested for Allegedly Extorting Marijuana Vendors
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A Massachusetts mayor was arrested on Friday for allegedly extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from marijuana vendors.

Mayor Jasiel Correia, the Democrat mayor of Fall River, allegedly operated a scheme to help marijuana stores conduct business in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, according to a tweet from the FBI’s Boston field office.

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia was arrested this morning by @FBIBoston IRS-CI & @HUDOIG special agents at his home. He’s accused of conspiring to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from marijuana companies. Details to follow at 11 a.m. press conference @DMAnews1

— FBI Boston (@FBIBoston) September 6, 2019

Correia’s chief of staff was also arrested Friday on bribery and extortion charges for her alleged involvement in the scheme.

Also arrested this morning was Genoveva Andrade, the former chief of staff to Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia, on extortion and bribery charges. She was taken into custody in Boston by @FBIBoston IRS-CI & @HUDOIG special agents. More details at 11 a.m. press conference @DMAnews1

— FBI Boston (@FBIBoston) September 6, 2019

Three others are also charged in connection to the case, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts.

Correia stood outside Boston federal court on Friday and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“I’m not guilty of these charges,” the 27-year-old Democrat told reporters after the hearing, standing next to his attorney outside the courthouse. “I’ve done nothing but good for the great city of Fall River, me and my staff, and my team. I’m going to continue to do great things for our citizens.”

Correia has also been accused of extorting $3,900 in cash and a Rolex watch worth between $7,500 and $12,000 from a property owner in exchange for activating the water supply to his building.

Federal prosecutors also alleged that Correia demanded that his chief of staff pay him half of her $78,700 salary so he could appoint her and allow her to keep her job as chief of staff.

Correia also pleaded not guilty last October to federal charges of defrauding investors and filing false tax returns, Boston.com reported.

Prosecutors say Correia took more than $360,000 from investors to develop an app called SnoOwl to help businesses connect with consumers.

Instead, he allegedly used more than $230,000 of the seed money to buy a Mercedes, designer clothing, and jewelry. He is also accused of using some of the cash to donate to his own political campaign.

Correia is expected to face trial on those federal charges on February 24, 2020.

The 27-year-old Democrat is also among three candidates to face off in a primary election on September 17.

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