Ex-US Rep Brown To Be Sentenced For Fraud

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge is expected to sentence former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown on Monday for fraud and other charges related to a purported charity for poor students that she used as a personal slush fund.

The 71-year-old Brown is due in court at 10 a.m. in Jacksonville, a city in the Florida district she represented in Congress during her historic, nearly 25-year career.

Brown, a Democrat who was one of the first three African-Americans to be elected to Congress from Florida since Reconstruction, could spend the rest of her life in prison.

A federal jury in May convicted her of 18 of the 22 charges against her, which included fraud, lying on her tax returns and on her congressional financial disclosures.

Prosecutors outlined a pattern of fraud by Brown and her top aide that included using hundreds of thousands of dollars from the One Door for Education Foundation for lavish parties, trips and shopping excursions.

Brown’s former chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, and One Door’s executive director Carla Wiley accepted plea deals and testified against Brown. They are also scheduled to be sentenced Monday.

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., speaks during a rally, Monday, March 10, 2014, on the steps of the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. Participants were rallying against the state’s “Stand Your Ground” laws. Photo: AP Photo/Phil Sears.

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. The Virginia-based One Door only gave out one scholarship for $1,200 to an unidentified person in Florida, according to court documents.

Simmons told jurors that his boss ordered him to take cash and checks from One Door’s account on dozens of occasions and deposit the money into Brown’s personal account.

Brown testified in her own defense, saying she was left in the dark about the details of One Door’s money, and blamed the theft on Simmons.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Corrigan could sentence Brown to many years in prison for each of her 18 counts.

Her attorneys argued for leniency at a hearing last month, saying Brown’s community work should mitigate her crimes.

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News Talk Florida Staff