US (MA): Mayor allegedly extorted thousands of dollars from cannabis vendors

The young mayor of a Massachusetts town is in big trouble after federal agents announced on Friday that they were bringing charges of bribery, extortion, wire fraud, and filing false tax returns against him in connection with gouging cannabis entrepreneurs looking to open businesses in his town. The crazy thing? Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II of Fall River, Massachusetts has already faced federal charges while in office.

“In many ways, it’s a perfect storm of corruption: the combination of a highly competitive industry and a mayor who was solely responsible for approving all non-opposition letters in the city,” said FBI agent Joseph R. Bonavolonta in a statement.

The cannabis vendors in question went unidentified. Correia entered a not-guilty plea in the case, which has been brought by Massachusetts’ United States Attorney’s office, and had to pay a $250,000 bond to go free. The charges stem from cash bribes he allegedly took from cannabis businesses looking for non-opposition letters from the city government, documents that are required for companies seeking a license in Massachusetts and can be tricky to obtain.

The US Attorney says that Correia took massive bribes from the cannabis companies — from $100,000 to $250,000, sums that included campaign donations, mortgage discharges, and even cannabis. The charges state that the mayor received cannabis that was destined to be resold.


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