Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia welcomes visitors to the city’s website with a wide smile and a motivating message: Entrepreneurs, business owners and college graduates hungry to make a difference can make a name for themselves.
“They can make it here, in Fall River, whether it’s a device, a dream, a destination or the chance at a fresh start at a new day,” the mayor’s welcome message states.
But federal prosecutors accuse Correia of taking advantage of marijuana business owners’ entrepreneurial spirit, extorting them for hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for a chance to do business in the Massachusetts city.
The 27-year-old Democrat allegedly took bribes from marijuana companies in exchange for non-opposition letters, claiming he would only issue about five or six. In total, prosecutors say Correia issued 14 non-opposition letters, including two for his girlfriend’s brother.
The non-opposition letters, which are