You probably didn’t hear much of anything about it from the mainstream media, but a once-prominent House Democrat from Florida was just sentenced to five years in federal prison after being convicted of numerous counts of conspiracy and fraud … but her sentence could have been a lot worse.
WOKV reported that disgraced ex-Rep. Corrine Brown sat stoically while receiving her sentence, as did her convicted co-conspirators, Ronnie Simmons and Carla Wiley, who received sentences of four years and just under two years, respectively, for their part in the scheme.
Brown had been convicted in May on 18 counts related to her operation of skimming from a fake charity intended to raise educational funds for poor, minority students — but which instead served as a slush fund for Brown and her co-conspirators: Simmons, then her chief of staff, and Wiley, founder of the “One Door For Education” charity that wasn’t really a charity, as per the IRS.
Her 18 convictions included such charges such as: conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, aiding and abetting both types of fraud, a scheme to conceal material facts, a corrupt endeavor to obstruct and impede the due administration of internal revenue law, and, of course, filing false tax returns.
The three defendants will have to report to prison at some point after Jan. 8, 2018, but have had their travel restricted and are being monitored by authorities until then.
Prosecutors revealed during the trial how the One Door charity had received more than $800,000 in donations, thanks to Brown’s fundraising abilities, but that only a small portion of those funds actually went to help needy students — the rest was spent on personal use and to fund an extravagant lifestyle for Brown and the others.
Incredibly, Brown had even claimed that she had donated to the charity, which she deducted from her taxes, while at the same time she was actually stealing money from those same ostensibly charitable funds.
According to The Florida Times-Union, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Corrigan didn’t look kindly upon Brown or her co-conspirators, though he did grant some leniency to the others as they admitted their responsibility and testified against Brown, who has insisted she is innocent throughout the ordeal.
Calling their crimes “shameless,” Judge Corrigan repeatedly castigated the defendants during sentencing and stated, “This was a crime born out of entitlement and greed committed to ensure a lifestyle that was beyond their means.”
Corrigan also took issue with some of Brown’s “beyond the pale” provocative remarks during the trial, as well as her testimony on the stand, which he described as “hedging, noncommittal, off-topic and evasive,” though he stopped short of hitting her with a perjury charge.
As to the disgusting scheme itself, which took place between 2012 and 2016, Corrigan stated, “Brazen barely describes it.”
“Ms. Brown leveraged the authority of her office and the relationships she had cultivated to illegal purpose,” said the judge. “In the process she cast aside the very laws that she helped to enact. The rules, she decided, did not apply to her.”
Ironically, the disgraced ex-Rep. received her five year sentence to federal prison within the very federal courthouse in Jacksonville for which she had worked to secure federal funding.
“It is incredibly disappointing that an elected official, who took an oath year after year to serve others, would exploit the needs of children and abuse the charitable hearts of constituents to advance her own personal and political agendas, and deliver them with virtually nothing,” stated FBI Jacksonville Special Agent Charles P. Spencer after the sentencing, according to PJ Media.
“It is an exceptionally difficult task, but rooting out public corruption is a priority for which the FBI will continue to dedicate the resources necessary to investigate, because the impact on everyday people is real,” added Spencer.
We are glad that this former House Democrat who bilked charitable constituents into donating to a fake charity used as a personal slush fund will be serving time behind bars for her despicable act of essentially stealing from needy children.
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