Massachusetts mayor arrested again, accused of extorting marijuana vendors

U.S. & World

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WWLP) – Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia was arrested Friday morning for the second time in less than a year.

Correia is accused of conspiring to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from marijuana companies. He now faces charges of bribery, extortion, conspiracy, extortion and aiding and abetting. The young mayor was first arrested last October on federal fraud charges.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said Correia extorted a building owner for cash and a Rolex watch in exchange for activating the water supply to a commercial building and demanded that his chief of staff give him half her salary in return for appointing her and allowing her to keep her city job.

The former chief of staff 48-year-old Genoveva Andrade was also arrested Friday morning on extortion and bribery charges.

This pattern, in which Andrade promptly kicked back a substantial portion of her paychecks to Correia, continued for approximately eight months.  For instance, Andrade received her first paycheck for $2,046. Four days later, Andrade gave Correia $1,200.  In total, between December 2017 and July 2018, Andrade kick back approximately $22,800 to Correia.  Andrade shared information about the kickback scheme with MJ Vendor #5 allegedly saying, “you want to hear something even more f***ed up … I have to give [Correia] half of my salary.” 

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling

Correia is also accused of issuing 14 non-opposition letters to marijuana vendors, which are required in order to operate in Massachusetts, in return for cash bribes and other payments. The bribes allegedly ranged from approximately $100,000 to $250,000 in cash, campaign contributions and mortgage discharges. Both Correia and Andrade allegedly met with marijuana vendors and discussed these deals.

Fifty-one-year-old Antonio Costa, 58-year-old Hildegar Camara, and 54-year-old David Herbert were also charged separately with extortion conspiracy, extortion, and false statements in connection with subsequent false statements to federal agents about their roles in assisting Correia obtain money and property from marijuana vendors.   

Correia and Andrade are due in federal court in Boston Friday afternoon.

Correia was recalled as mayor of Fall River in March but was then re-elected by voters. A regular mayor election is scheduled to take place this November.

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