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Former Rep. Corrine Brown Sentenced to 5 Years
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Corrine Brown

Summary: Former Florida Rep. Corrine Brown has been sentenced to 5 years for engaging in a fraudulent charity.

The former Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown accused of fraud has been sentenced to five years behind bars for mail, wire and tax fraud. Brown participated in a scam involving a fake charity.

  
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The jury found that Brown stole money from the sham charity, One Door For Education. The money was supposed to be for scholarships for poor children but instead she used to for herself and associates. Federal prosecutors successfully showed that Brown and her top aide committed fraud by using donations for the charity to pay for fancy parties and trips.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Corrigan read the sentenced to Brown, 71. She has been ordered to turn herself in to the prison in January. She plans on appealing the sentence. Corrigan noted her history of public service and ability to overcome obstacles as a black woman when he gave the sentence. She could have received up to nine years.

He blamed what Brown did on “entitlement and greed.” The pattern of fraud exhibited by Brown and her aide included trips, shopping excursions, and parties. Corrigan said, “It is a sad day for everyone. It is a sad day for this community. 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.”

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Corrigan found that Brown used her power and position to convince donors to fundraise for the charity. She was unrepentant even when the presented evidence contradicted her claims of innocence. Corrigan added, “The rules, she decided, did not apply to her.”

The aide as well as another official have already accepted plea deals. They helped in the prosecution of Brown by testifying against her. One Door For Education President Carla Wiley pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. It was discovered that she deposited $800,000 into the foundation’s account for four years. During that time, the charity gave one scholarship for $1,000 while Wiley transferred tens of thousands of dollars to herself. Brown’s former chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons also pleaded guilty upon facing federal indictments for the misuse of charity funds.



Brown claimed she was unaware of what was happening with the charity’s money, blaming everything on Simmons.

Brown served in Congress for roughly 25 years. Her political career ended when she was defeated in last year’s primary race. She was convicted on 18 of 22 charges in May. She was asking for probation.

Brown was one of the first three African-Americans elected to Congress from Florida.

Do you think five years is a sufficient prison sentence for defrauding donors of a charity? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about other scams involving politicians, attorneys, and other well-known figures, read these articles:

Photo: staugustine.com



 

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