Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia: “I Am Innocent”

The 26-year-old app company founder is charged with defrauding investors.

2016 photo via AP/Stephan Savoia

Jasiel Correia, the 26-year-old mayor of Fall River, has been arrested and charged with defrauding investors to “pay for [a] lavish lifestyle and political campaign,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday morning in a tweet.

Correia, who became the youngest mayor in Fall River’s history after his 2015 election at age 23, is also the founder of an app called SnoOwl, which is designed to link businesses with customers on social media.

In an indictment, it’s alleged that Correia used more than $231,000 in investors’ money on himself, buying a Mercedes, designer clothing, and other luxury goods, and paying trips to casinos, “adult entertainment,” student loans, and dating services, while his company fizzled. He did not report the money he lavished on himself to the IRS, investigators found. He faces nine counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns. He pleaded not guilty to all charges in federal court Thursday afternoon.

Outside court, he told reporters he would “absolutely not be resigning,” and said he looked forward to contesting the charges in court. Later, he professed his innocence on Twitter:

Last year, he confirmed to the Herald News that he was under investigation by the FBI and HUD for his dealings with investors, who never saw a return on the cash they supplied his fledgling company, the Herald News reports. At the time, Correia denied wrongdoing.

“I know that at the end of the day I’m not going to get into any trouble because I didn’t do anything wrong. I have faith in our legal system,” he told the paper, adding that allegations that he defrauded investors was “all hoopla.”

After growing up in Fall River, Correia graduated from Providence College in 2013 and was elected to the Fall River City Council that same year, according to a biography on the city’s website.