Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Corrine Brown Going To 5 Year Jail in Fraud Case

Corrine Brown Going To 5 Year Jail in Fraud Case

A federal judge sentenced former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown to five years in prison on Monday, months after a jury convicted the Florida Democrat of fraud for using a charity for poor students as her personal expense account.

Additionally, trial evidence established that Brown engaged in a scheme to hide reportable income she received from One Door, and from other sources, on annual financial disclosure forms she was required to file with the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Corrigan sentenced Brown to serve 60 months in prison; Brown's long-time Chief of Staff Elias "Ronnie" Simmons to serve 48 months in prison; and Carla Wiley, the president of the fraudulent charity, to serve 21 months in prison.

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"This was a crime born out of entitlement and greed committed to ensure a lifestyle that was beyond their means", he said during Monday's sentencing hearing, according to the Times-Union.

Corrigan alluded to Brown's long history of public service before handing down the sentence, which could have been as long as nine years.

Prosecutors sketched out an example of extortion by Brown and her best assistant that included utilizing a huge number of dollars from the One Door for Education Foundation for extravagant gatherings, outings and shopping trips. It involved raising money for a unregistered charity One Door for Education, which prosecutors called her slush fund.

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"It is a sad day for everyone".

After a almost 25-year career in Congress, she was convicted in May and could have spent the rest of her life in prison. "I was impressed with all the outpouring of support for you, and I think it's a tribute to all the work you've done over the years". Corrigan said he would review that request.

The judge said Brown used her high profile to lure donors to fundraisers, abusing her power, and was unrepentant when faced with evidence that contradicted her claims of innocence. Simmons was condemned to four years in jail, trailed by three years of probation, and Wiley got a one-year sentence following by three years of probation. Brown, Simmons and Wiley will also have to pay back the donors they hoodwinked, totaling more than $450,000 once they are released from prison. They too were ordered to report for prison in January. 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. The Virginia-based foundation only gave out one scholarship for $1,200 to an unidentified person in Florida, according to court documents. Her lawyer James Smith said he hopes the former 12-term congresswoman would be allowed to stay home pending an appeal.

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"This is a woman who has overcome a lot. and this won't be the last thing she has to overcome", Smith told reporters outside the courthouse.

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