Attorneys for former Fall River mayor seek leniency

Massachusetts
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BOSTON (AP) — A former mayor from Massachusetts who was convicted of felony fraud and corruption charges is seeking a three-year prison sentence, much less than the 11 years prosecutors had requested.

Lawyers for former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia said in a sentencing memorandum filed Monday in federal court that “36 months is a very substantial period of incarceration for a non-violent first offense, particularly for a man as young as Mr. Correia.”

The filing included nine letters requesting leniency, including pleas from Correia’s parents, his wife, and the pastor of the church he attends.

“Jasiel has been and continues to be a model son, brother, cousin, friend and a husband to his wife, and I’m certain once he becomes a father he’ll be 10 times better at being a father than I am,” wrote Correia’s father, also Jasiel Correia.

In addition to prison time, defense attorneys recommended restitution and “appropriate forfeiture.”

While awaiting sentencing, Correia has been managing a Fall River restaurant-function hall owned by his wife’s family, and has been integral to its success, the defense said.

In addition to the 11-year prison term, federal prosecutors last week also called on a judge to order Correia to pay nearly $300,000 in restitution to investors and more than $20,000 to the IRS, and forfeit more than $560,000.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 20.

Correia, first elected mayor in 2015 at age 23, was convicted in May of 21 extortion, wire fraud, and filing false tax return counts. He continues to deny all charges and has appealed.

His criminal trial highlighted his swift rise and fall. During his run for mayor, he portrayed himself as a successful entrepreneur who could revive the struggling old mill city some 50 miles south of Boston.

Instead, prosecutors said he stole money from investors in his start-up to bankroll a lavish lifestyle and once he became mayor, and solicited bribes from marijuana vendors who wanted to do business in the city.

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