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Ex-congresswoman, Corrine Brown jailed five years in prison for nearly $1M charity scam

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“This was a crime born out of entitlement and greed committed to ensure a lifestyle that was beyond their means,” US District Judge Timothy Corrigan said, according to the Florida Times-Union.
“Just think of the good that could have been done with that money if it would have been used for its intended purpose.”
The 12-term congresswoman, one of the first black federal reps in Florida since the 1800s, reportedly could nor overcome extensive damaging evidence from federal prosecutors that showed she was deeply involved in a sham charity that was really a secret pool of cash used to finance elaborate parties, vacation getaways and shopping sprees.

Corrine Brown 6.jpgFormer congresswoman Corrine Brown [center], leaves the federal courthouse on the arm of Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick Sr. [right], after being found guilty on 18 of 22 counts, in May

Twelve jurors unanimously convicted her on a raft of charges.
Brown was found guilty on 18 of 22 counts that include filing false tax returns in 2012 through 2014 and making false claims on income disclosure forms reported to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Brown was accused and eventually convicted of raising more than $800,000 for the One Door for Education group, which she falsely claimed was a charity raising money for kids.
A federal jury convicted the 71-year-old Democrat in May on 18 of 22 charges she faced, including lying on taxes and congressional financial disclosures.
Two other people implicated in the scam were sentenced Monday One Door president Carla Wiley and former Brown chief of staff Ronnie Simmons.

Slias Ronnie Simmons 1.jpgElias “Ronnie” Simmons, chief of staff to former US Rep Corrine Brown, leaves the Federal Courthouse in Jacksonville Florida after his indictment along with Brown in July 2016. He will serve 48 months in prison following his conviction

The 24-count indictment had implicated Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, 52, of Laurel, Maryland, who has served as Brown’s chief of staff for 22 years, and One Door president, Carla Wiley.
Prosecutors stated that: “Congresswoman Brown and her chief of staff are alleged to have used the congresswoman’s official position to solicit over $800,000 in donations to a supposed charitable organization, only to use that organization as a personal slush fund,” Assistant US Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, said in a statement.
In reality, the group used only $1,200 for that cause, while it blew $300,000 on parties, box seats at a Beyoncé concert and pro football game and a golf tournament held in Brown’s honor. She also used the slush fund to repair her car and take vacations.
Carla Wiley had earlier pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud after it was determined that she had deposited $800,000 into the foundation’s account over four years.

Carla Wiley 1.jpgOne Door president, Carla Wiley [left], leaves court after her testimony in May. The organization was based in Leesburg, Va 

Over that time, federal prosecutors say the foundation gave one scholarship for $1,000 and $200 to an unidentified person in Florida, while Wiley transferred tens of thousands of dollars to herself.
Wiley was jailed 21 months and Simmons, who took a plea deal to testify against his former boss, was sentenced to 48 months.
Under federal sentencing rules, Brown will have to complete 85 percent of her sentence before being eligible for release. She must turn herself in no earlier than Jan. 8.

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