Former Florida Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown was sentenced on Monday to five years in prison for mail, wire and tax fraud involving a sham charity.
A jury convicted Brown of stealing money from a bogus charity, One Door For Education, which purported to give scholarships to poor children but instead filled the coffers of Brown and her associates. Federal prosecutors said she and a top aide committed fraud by using donations for lavish parties and trips. The aide and another official later accepted a plea deal and testified against Brown, who served in Congress for nearly 25 years. She was defeated in her 2016 primary race.
Earlier this year, One Door President Carla Wiley pleaded 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. Over that time, federal prosecutors say it gave one scholarship for $1,000 and that Wiley transferred herself tens of thousands of dollars.
Brown’s former chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, and the charity’s president pleaded guilty after their federal indictments for misusing the charity’s funds, and testified against Brown.
Brown testified that she was left in the dark about the goings-on with One Door’s money, and blamed the theft on Simmons. She was convicted in May on 18 of 22 charges.