This just in—former U.S. Representative Corrine Brown of Florida was found guilty of fraud and tax evasion.
The Democratic Congresswoman received a whopping $800,000 worth of donations for a fake charity that she set up, and used the funds to pay for her own personal concerts and golf trips. We previously reported on this, however she has now been officially found guilty.
Fox News reports:
“Former Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown was found guilty on 18 fraud and tax evasion charges Thursday afternoon in a Jacksonville federal court.”
“The charges stemmed from accusations she illegally siphoned thousands of dollars from her charity into her own bank account for lavish parties, trips and shopping excursions.”
“Brown was found not guilty on four of the 22 total charges.”
“Brown served as a Florida representative in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 until 2017. She was defeated in her 2016 primary race.”
The sentence came after an investigation into the charity “One Door for Education Foundation Inc.,” which the prosecutors say was used as a front to line the front pockets of the owners.
Fox News also adds that earlier this year, Carla Wiley, president of said charity, pleaded guilty to “one account of conspiracy to commit wire fraud,” after it was determined that she laundered nearly $800,000 into the organization over the course of four years.
Reuters confirms the story:
“Prosecutors said Brown participated from 2012 to 2016 in a conspiracy and fraud scheme involving the One Door for Education fund, along with her chief-of-staff Elias ‘Ronnie’ Simmons and the charity’s president, Carla Wiley.”
“The group solicited more than $800,000 in charitable donations that they said would be used to pay for college scholarships, computers for schools and other charitable causes, prosecutors said.”
“The money instead was spent by the three for their own personal use, including for a golf tournament honoring Brown and for luxury box seats at a Beyonce concert. The charity awarded only two scholarships totaling $1,200 to college students, according to trial evidence.”
“Simmons and Wiley previously pleaded guilty to charges stemming from their involvement in the scheme.”
“Brown, known as a talkative politician who does not shy away from the media, stayed silent as she left the courthouse on Thursday.”
“Brown was elected to Congress in 1992 as one of the first three black members of Florida’s congressional delegation since the Reconstruction period following the Civil War.”
The money that was stolen, should have been given to “needy children,” to help fund their education, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said that “She shamefully deprived needy children of hundreds of thousands of dollars that could have helped with their education and improved their opportunities for advancement, and she lied to the IRS and the American public about secret cash deposits into her personal bank accounts.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge, Charles Spencer, also added that “…Brown took an oath year after year to serve others, but instead she exploited the needs of children and deceived her constituents to advance her own personal and political agendas.”
Despite this, Brown has still maintained her innocence, according to her attorney. He says that they’re seeking a new trial, and that this is “just part one of a very long process.”