Young Mayor Facing Federal Fraud Charges Refuses Resignation Calls
By Melissa Hanson
Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia, who is facing fraud charges in federal court and has been served with an eviction notice, announced he will not step down Tuesday morning.
"I will not resign," Correia said during a press conference held inside the city's Government Center. "This is America. I am presumed innocent until proven otherwise. I will not allow political enemies to remove me from office."
The 26-year-old mayor was arrested last week and charged with nine counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false taxes.
On Monday, the Democrat was served an eviction notice at his residence, according to Bristol County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jonathan Darling.
Correia is accused of defrauding investors of his company, the app "SnoOwl," to fund what authorities described as a "lavish lifestyle."
He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Fall River City Council is holding a special meeting Tuesday night to "address recent issues relating to" the mayor.
Correia was elected three years ago, making him the youngest mayor in Fall River's history.
Gov. Charlie Baker said last week that Correia should "step aside."
Correia crossed party lines and endorsed Baker and running mate Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, both on the Republican ticket for re-election.
The Baker campaign stripped his endorsement from its website after Correia's arrest.
After appearing in federal court in Boston last week, Correia told reporters he did "nothing wrong."
"I've done nothing wrong. If you look at my track record as mayor all you see is positive results," he said. "I was elected and re-elected with 65 percent of the vote in Fall River and if you look at those bogus charges or whatever they're called there is not a single thing...I did wrong as the mayor of the city of Fall River."
Asked if he would resign, Correia told reporters there was "absolutely no reason" to step down as mayor.
Andrew Lelling, the U.S. Attorney for the district of Massachusetts, alleges the Correia spent more than half of the money Massachusetts residents invested in SnoOwl on personal items like airfare, luxury hotel stays, adult entertainment, dating services, designer clothes and a Mercedes.
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