Monday, Dec. 4, Jacksonville, Florida: Former Florida Democratic Representative Corrine Brown was sentenced to five years in prison for mail, wire and tax fraud involving a bogus charity.
A trial by jury led to Brown’s conviction. She was found guilty of stealing money from a sham charity, One Door For Education. The charitable organization claimed to give scholarships to needy children, but instead lined the pockets of Brown and her associates.
During the trial, Federal prosecutors said that Brown and one of her top aides committed fraud by inappropriately using donations to throw lavish parties and take trips.
Damning testimony against Brown came from one of her top aides and the charity’s president, who accepted plea deals.
The 71-year-old had an historic career which included serving in Congress for nearly 25 years.
Carla Wiley, president of One Door For Education pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud when investigators found that she had deposited $800,000 into the foundation’s account over four years. During that time, federal prosecutors say the ‘charity’ gave handed out exactly one scholarship for $1,000 while Wiley transferred herself tens of thousands of dollars.
Brown’s former chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, pleaded guilty after receiving a federal indictment for misusing funds, and in turn, testified against Brown.
As for Brown’s testimony, she claimed that she was unaware of the mishandlings with One Door’s money, and blamed the wrong doings on Simmons.
She was convicted last May on 18 of the 22 charges.
The former Florida representative is also required to pay $62,650.99 in restitution to the IRS. In addition, she must also pay a portion of $452,515.87 in restitution to other victims.
Corrine Brown will be allowed to turn herself in no earlier than January 8, 2018. She is required to surrender her passport as well.