Former Massachusetts Mayor Gets Prison Time for Cannabis Extortion and Bribery
Why this is a big win for the marijuana community.
As the world awakens to the truth that cannabis is the future, some others are trying to pull down the industry, and the marijuana sector is fighting back!! This case shows that the era of taking advantage of the cannabis industry is over for good.
A federal judge has sentenced Jasiel Correia, a 29-year-old past mayor of Fall River, Mass, to six years in prison. Correia was sentenced for extorting local cannabis entrepreneurs. His sentence has been described by residents as a "fall from grace" for someone who has been a prominent politician in the future. It is a sad story of a budding politician who could have become a leading voice championing the cause of the marijuana industry.
The key facts of the story
Douglas Woodlock, a Boston-based judge after finding Correia guilty, gave him a six years imprisonment judgment with three years of supervised release. The Massachusetts spokesperson for the U.S Attorney's office, Christina Sterling, confirmed the decision.
Correia's conviction was on wire fraud and extortion and other charges linked to his action of taking bribes from a potential Fall River cannabis business. He was also charged for defrauding investors of an app known as "SnoOwl," which was already founded before he was elected Mayor.
Judge Woodlock on Monday overturned numerous tax and wire fraud convictions connected to SnoOwl's allegations after confirming that persecutors did not prove the charges. However, he left the extortion convictions as it was.
Federal prosecutors had requested that Judge Woodlock sentence Correia to 11 years in prison, stating that his corruption is "Crude" while accusing him of being in denial. Correia pleaded not guilty and asked for three years in jail with his lawyers saying that he has the potential to learn from this phase of his life.
His attorneys declined additional comments, but from their disposition and Correia's ridiculous plea for three years in prison, it is evident that he is guilty of the accusations.
The FBI's verdict
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was heavily invested in the case and maintained that Correia is a compulsive liar who hasn't shown empathy or remorse for his actions. He also hasn't expressed regret nor apologized to his victims.
The FBI asserted that the judgment was the perfect opportunity to hold him accountable. They maintained that, unfortunately, the situation has contributed to a lack of trust on the part of the public for the government. The case also profoundly hurt the residents of Fall River. The FBI's assertion was made known through Joseph Bonavolonta, the Bureau's special investigation's agent in Boston.
The contrary appeal
Correia's lawyers stated offered a counterargument to the judgment by insisting that the case "evokes the legend of Icarus." They were referring to a character in Greek mythology who is known chiefly for not surviving the shift from boyhood to manhood.
The "Icarus complex" is referred to someone who is overambitious such that his dreams exceed his personality limits, thus leading to a backlash. Correia's lawyers described him as being a fast flyer who had a "Hubristic loss of moral compass" and how the judgment shouldn't be his end.
Crucial background to the story
The voters in Fall Rivers elected Correia as Mayor in 2015. Then he was a 23 years old city councilor who was described as "Energetic and optimistic," poised to lead his home base. He also focused on economic development and sought to change the negative impressions about Fall Rivers, a working-class town.
However, in 2018 Correia was arrested for supposedly stealing money from investors in SnoOwl, an app made to link users to local companies. The following year, federal officials charged him for negotiating bribes to the tune of $75,000 - $250,000 in exchange for writing letters of non-opposition for numerous people who wanted to open cannabis dispensaries in Fall Rivers.
Setting up the dispensaries was in line with Massachusetts' state laws on marijuana. Correia making such a move was a big blow to voters who had developed so much faith in the young man. Of course, this was an intentional move to siphon funds from entrepreneurs from what has been described as one of the most thriving sectors in America, even as states make definite moves to legalize cannabis.
A shocking fact
To understand the details of this case and why it is such a win for the marijuana community, we must unravel some exciting facts. Former Mayor Correia had initially survived a recall election after getting his first federal charges in the early part of 2019.
This federal charge, in particular, was because of an unusual procedural fluke that made most of the voters in Fall River recall Correia. However, he won the seat back in the elections because he got more significant votes than other candidates.
The local radio station WBUR also reported that Correia was eventually voted out of his seat in 2019, leaving office in 2020. This happened after he postponed his 2019 reelection campaign some weeks before Election Day.
When a crooked politician appears to be getting lucky at manipulating the system, then t is only a matter of time before the person is rooted off office for a significant crime. Many years ago, people didn't take anything about cannabis seriously because it had a bad rep. Still, the tide has changed today, which is why the Correia of this world cannot survive the backlash after attempting to ruin marijuana entrepreneurs.
The cannabis industry is beginning to come full circle, with more and more people getting interested in what the sector has to offer. As this awareness increases and as people become interested in investing, they keep their eyes and ears to the ground in search of people who seek to jeopardize their efforts.
Correia's sentencing is a significant win for the marijuana industry. It is a testament that no one can mess with cannabis enthusiasts and get away with it. With such wins, future leaders will do well to act with the uttermost integrity when dealing with cannabis entrepreneurs.