Last summer, we blogged about former Florida Rep. Corrine Brown’s legal woes.
Brown faced, “24 counts ranging fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, making false statements, wire fraud, and more,” reported First Coast News in July of 2016. Brown was accused of creating a fake charity called One Door, raising over $800,000, and then using the cash as her own personal slush fund. The charity only dished out $1,200 in donations, according to the prosecutor.
Thursday, Brown was convicted on eighteen federal fraud charges.
First Coast News reports:
A jury found former Congresswoman Corrine Brown guilty on 18 counts of a 24 indictment Thursday, bringing an end to the 30-year political career of one of the region’s most recognizable politicians.
The verdict capped eight days of testimony, nearly 50 witnesses and more than a hundreds of pieces of evidence introduced at trial. The jury deliberated for nearly two days at the federal courthouse in downtown Jacksonville before returning its verdict.
Brown was found guilty of 1, 2, 4, 6 – 13, 15, 17, 19, 21 – 24 She was found guilty on charges of Conspiring to commit mail/wire fraud, filing false tax returns, and lying on financial disclosure forms and working to obstruct the IRS.
Brown was stoic and stared straight ahead as the verdict was being read.
The laundry list of charges is as follows:
Count 1 is a conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud charge.
Counts 2 through 8 are aiding and abetting mail fraud charges.
Counts 9 through 17 are aiding and abetting wire fraud charges.
Counts 1 through 17 are related to Brown’s affiliation with a fake charity, One Door For Education.
Brown is not charged with count 18 – her chief of staff faced that charge before accepting a plea deal in February.
Count 19 is an engaging in a scheme to hide facts charge.
This charge relates to her financial disclosure forms she’s required to file as a member of congress each year by law. The prosecution says she lied about her amount of income. The defense argues she was just sloppy with her bookkeeping.
Brown is not charged with count 20 – her chief of staff faced that charge before accepting a plea deal in February.
Count 21 is a corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede IRS laws filing her tax returns for tax years 2008 – 2014 charge.
Count 22 is a charge alleging filing false U.S. individual income tax returns in 2012.
Count 23 is a charge alleging filing false U.S. individual income tax returns in 2013.
Count 24 is a charge alleging filing false U.S. individual income tax returns in 2014.
First Coast News continued:
At the center of the trial was a bogus charity that Brown used to raise some $833,000 between 2012–2015. Big name donors like former CSX CEO Michael Ward, philanthropist Gasper Lazarra and attorney Steve Pajcic were just some of those who testified they gave money to One Door For Education in order to help poor and minority students.
One Door gave out just $1,200 in scholarships, prosecutors said. The rest went to pay for lavish events hosted by Brown, or into the pockets of the congresswoman, her chief of staff, and the charity’s president, Carla Wiley.
Ronnie Simmons, Brown’s former chief of staff, testified against his longtime boss and friend, as did Wiley. Both agreed to plead guilty in exchange for possible leniency in sentencing. Brown dismissed their testimony and said both used her to enrich themselves. She admitted making “mistakes,” but insisted any financial issues were accidental.
Brown is known internet-wide for her bizarre House floor speech celebrating the Florida Gators:
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