Chief of Staff to Former Fall River Mayor Enters Guilty Plea
BOSTON – The Chief of Staff to then Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia entered a guilty plea today to charges of extortion, bribery and making false statements.
Genoveva Andrade, 49, of Somerset, agreed to plead guilty to two counts of extortion conspiracy, two counts of extortion, one count of bribery and one count of false statements. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock took the plea under advisement pending sentencing, which is scheduled for April 27, 2021. Andrade was arrested and charged on Sept. 6, 2019.
At a change of plea hearing today, Andrade admitted to conspiring with Correia to extort a marijuana vendor for $150,000 in return for a letter of non-opposition from Correia. 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. After the vendor agreed to pay Correia $150,000 for the letter, Andrade said to him, “you’re family now.”
Andrade also admitted to conspiring with Correia to extort a Fall River business owner. Specifically, Andrade conspired with Correia to obtain a stream of benefits, including cash and a Rolex watch valued at approximately $7,500 to $12,000, in exchange for official action and assistance that was favorable to the business owner.
In a third criminal scheme, Andrade admitted that soon after Correia hired her as his Chief of Staff in November 2017, Andrade began kicking back half of her salary to Correia on a bi-weekly basis until July 2018. She also kicked back nearly all of the $10,000 city-funded “snow stipend” that Correia approved for Andrade.
Finally, Andrade admitted to making false statements to federal agents in December 2018 in connection with the corruption investigation into Correia.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joleen Simpson, Acting 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 Field 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. Attorney Zachary Hafer, Chief of Lelling’s Criminal Division, is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.