FALL RIVER, MASS. (WHDH) - Fall River’s 26-year-old mayor proclaimed his innocence Tuesday morning and said he will not be stepping down just days after he was was arrested and charged with using investments in a company he formed as his “own personal ATM” to enjoy casinos and adult entertainment, buy a Mercedes, and pay down student loan debt.
“Humbly, I will continue every day to show you how hard-working your mayor is,” Jasiel Correia said in front of a large gathering of reporters and supporters at City Hall. “I will not resign!”
Correia, who was taken into custody last Thursday on charges including wire fraud and filing false tax returns, called his arrest the product of 18 months of rumors and fake accusations.
“Those rumors are 100 percent false,” he said. “I am innocent of 100 percent of those allegations.”
A federal indictment alleges Correia collected more than $360,000 from investors to develop the SnoOwl app, which was supposed to help businesses connect with consumers, but he instead spent more than $230,000 of the investor funds to bankroll a lavish lifestyle and advance his political career.
In a Powerpoint presentation, Correia fought back against the indictment, disputing the allegations and detailing the history of SnoOwl’s development.
“In no way did I scheme, did I plan, or plot to take investor money without the deliverable of an app on the App Store,” he said.
Correia said he is not proud of the situation but vowed to continue serving the city. He said he looks forward to beating the charges in court.
City Council President Cliff Ponte said Monday that he believes Correia should step down. The council will vote Tuesday night on whether to remove him from office.
Correia was served eviction papers from his apartment on Monday.
He has since pleaded not guilty in Boston’s federal court.
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