Former Congresswoman Guilty on 18 Fraud Charges

Ex-Florida Rep. Corinne Brown's charity misused almost everything it raised
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2017 12:30 AM CDT
Former Congresswoman Guilty on 18 Fraud Charges
Former US Rep. Corrine Brown walks to the federal courthouse in Jacksonville, Fla.   (Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

Former US Rep. Corrine Brown's "One Door for Education" charity raised $833,000 between 2012 and 2016 to award scholarships to disadvantaged students—but prosecutors say only $1,200 was spent on a total of two scholarships. Brown, a Democrat who represented a Florida district in Congress for 24 years, is facing years in prison after being found guilty on 18 of 22 federal fraud charges, WJCT reports. Prosecutors said Brown and aide Elias Simmons siphoned off the rest of the money raised by the sham charity, spending it on travel, lavish parties, and luxuries like private boxes for NFL games and a Beyonce concert, NPR reports.

Prosecutors accused the 70-year-old of choosing "greed and personal gain" over public service. She "shamefully deprived needy children of hundreds of thousands of dollars that could have helped with their education and improved their opportunities for advancement," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco, per the Tampa Bay Times. Brown, who lost her re-election bid after she was indicted last year, maintained her innocence and blamed the theft on Simmons. He pleaded guilty to fraud and testified against Brown, as did the charity's president, Carla Wiley, the AP reports. All three will be sentenced at a later date. (More Florida stories.)

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