Associate of Former Fall River Mayor Sentenced for Extorting Marijuana Vendor and Making False Statements
BOSTON – An associate and co-conspirator of the now-imprisoned former Fall River Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II was sentenced on June 15, 2022 in federal court in Boston for extortion and lying to federal agents about his role in assisting Correia to obtain money and property from local marijuana vendors.
David Hebert, 57, of Westport, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel to three years of probation. Hebert was also ordered to pay a fine of $25,000 and a money judgement of $61,000. In September 2020, Hebert pleaded guilty to one count of extortion conspiracy, one count of extortion and one count of false statements.
Hebert conspired with Correia to extort a marijuana vendor for donations to Correia’s campaign in exchange for a non-opposition letter. Under Massachusetts law, non-opposition letters from the head of local government are required in order to obtain a license to operate a marijuana business. Correia, as Mayor, was solely responsible for approving all non-opposition letters in Fall River.
Hebert handled the extortion for Correia and demanded that the marijuana vendor pay a total of $25,000 to Correia’s political campaign fund by purchasing $12,500 worth of fundraising tickets to two of Correia’s campaign fundraisers. Hebert also demanded that the vendor’s brother, who held a mortgage on one of Hebert’s properties, forgive the $61,000 mortgage balance owed by Hebert. As a result of the extortion, the marijuana vendor, his friends and his family members purchased the Correia fundraising tickets and his brother discharged the mortgage he held on Hebert’s property in exchange for the letter of non-opposition.
When interviewed by federal investigators in June 2019, Hebert falsely stated that he was not involved in the approval and opening of any marijuana dispensaries in Fall River and falsely stated that he had never acted as a financial conduit for Correia.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Christina Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Regional Office; and Glenn A. Cunha, Massachusetts Inspector General, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David G. Tobin and Dustin Chao of Rollins’ Criminal Division prosecuted the case.