Federal corruption case against Fall River mayor begins

BOSTON (WHDH) - The federal trial of former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia began Monday, with the 29-year-old pleading not guilty to two dozen counts of wire fraud, filing false tax returns and extortion.

Prosecutors at the Moakley Courthouse in Boston told jurors Correia took $400,000 from investors for a business app he created and then used that money to fund his political campaigns and buy a Mercedes for himself and jewelry for his girlfriend. Correia began soliciting money for the app in 2013 and investors never saw their money, prosecutors said.

Correia was also charged with shaking down marijuana vendors for hundreds of thousands of dollars while he was mayor in exchange for approval to operate in Fall River. But Correia’s attorney, Kevin Reddington, said the prosecution couldn’t prove its charges.

“Nowhere in the agreements does it say there will not be personal expenses …No intent to defraud, no intent to steal,” Reddington said.

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