Former Florida Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown, 70, was found guilty for fraud and corruption charges. Brown, who served twelve (12) terms from 1993 to 2016, pleaded not guilty in July to 24 money-related charges. The Federal prosecutors at the time were noted stating that Brown had used her charity “One Door for Education Foundation Inc.”, as a “personal slush fund.”
However, a Florida jury has now convicted Brown on 18 counts of federal fraud and corruption charges.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said, “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.”
Local news sources have reported that Brown used the charity to solicit up to $830,000 in donations from 2012-2015. Donors were wrongly led to believe that their money would be used towards helping poor and minority students get an education. However, things seemed to be very different behind the scene. The so-called charity paid out only $1,200 in scholarships. Whereas, Brown reportedly used at least $300,000 to pay for lavish receptions, box seats at sporting events and concerts, and trips for her and her aides.
The jury has also convicted Brown for lying on her federal income taxes. During her trial, Brown insisted that her taxes contained “a lot of sloppy bookkeeping,” and that she never intended to provide false and incomplete information.
“It was a mistake on my part and I needed to get on top of my taxes,” Brown said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Tysen Duva referred to Brown’s actions as a “significant entitlement attitude.”
“That’s what this case is about. It’s about lying, cheating and stealing. It’s about fraud and corruption of the member of the highest level of the American government,” Duva said.
Brown’s sentencing date has yet to be set and her attorney has mentioned that she is looking forward to filing motions for a new trial.