Former Rep. Corrine Brown has been sentenced to five years in prison for pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors who believed their money was going to charity.
A federal judge on Monday sentenced the Florida Democrat, who was voted out of office last year, on 18 crimes ranging from conspiracy to fraud.Brown was charged with 24 counts of fraud in July 2016.
Former Florida Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown was sentenced on Monday to five years in prison for mail, wire and tax fraud involving a sham charity.A jury convicted Brown of stealing money from a bogus charity, One Door For Education, which purported to give scholarships to poor children but instead filled the coffers of Brown and her associates.Federal prosecutors said she and a top aide commited fraud by using donations for lavish parties and trips.
Brown was among the first African-American politicians elected to Washington from Florida and burnished a reputation in state and national politics as a civil rights champion and as an advocate for the less fortunate.During that long career Brown and her chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, had also been soliciting donations for One Door for Education — a group purportedly funding education for needy children, but really serving as a fig leaf for fraud. As member station WJCT reported, the two raised more than $800,00; just $1,200 actually went where they promised.
Brown’s defense lawyer argued at trial the aging congresswoman was the unwitting victim of her charming and manipulative chief of staff.