Ex-US Rep Brown gets 5-year prison sentence in fraud case

Ex-US Rep Brown gets 5-year prison sentence in fraud case

Ex-US Rep Brown gets 5-year prison sentence in fraud case

Former U.S. Congresswoman Corrine Brown was sentenced to five years in prison today in federal court in Jacksonville, Florida for her role in a conspiracy and fraud scheme involving a sham scholarship charity.

On May 18, a federal jury found the former lawmaker guilty of the 22 charges against her, which included counts of fraud and lying on both her personal tax returns and congressional financial disclosures. "We thank our law enforcement partners at the Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section, IRS-CI and U.S. Attorney's Office for their efforts to hold Brown and her associates accountable for their inexcusable actions". She was ordered to turn herself in to prison authorities in January. Prosecutors said the pattern of fraud by Brown and her top aide included using hundreds of thousands of dollars from the foundation for lavish parties, trips and shopping excursions.

Brown's co-conspirators - Simmons, 51, of Laurel, Maryland and Wiley, 55, of Leesburg, Virginia - previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the education charity scheme on February 8, and March 3, 2016, respectively.

"It is a sad day for everyone".

"The judge gave me a deadline of next week to file the motion for bond pending appeal and I think there are good grounds for that", he said. "I was impressed with all the outpouring of support for you and it's a tribute to you and the work you've done. and that makes it more tragic and sad". During a career that spanned almost 25 years, Brown represented a district that included Jacksonville.

"It's incredibly disappointing that an elected official, who took an oath year after year to serve others, would exploit the needs of children and abuse the charitable hearts of constituents to advance her own personal and political agendas, and deliver them with virtually nothing", said FBI Jacksonville Special Agent in Charge Charles P. Spencer.

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Simmons and the charity's executive director, Carla Wiley, testified against Brown in exchange for plea deals; the two were also scheduled to be sentenced on Monday.

Simmons also will have to repay $91,621 to the U.S. House of Representatives for creating a fake congressional staffing position for his sister from 2001-16.

Federal prosecutors said the three used One Door to bring in more than $800,000 between 2012 and 2016, including a high-profile golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass. In one instance, Simmons deposited $2,100 of One Door funds into Brown's personal bank account the same day that Brown paid $2,057 to the IRS for taxes she owed.

Brown, who wore a purple suit to the hearing, made no comment as she left the courthouse in a black Mercedes.

Brown vowed that her tombstone would not read 'convicted felon.' Attorney James Smith said she will continue her fight to overturn her conviction. City Councilman Reginald Brown, who isn't related to Brown, was in the courtroom during her sentence.

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