Former U.S. Representative Corrine Brown of Florida was found guilty in federal court on Thursday of fraud for helping to raise $800,000 for a bogus charity and using the funds for concerts and golf, U.S. Justice Department officials said.
The charges against Brown, who had represented the Jacksonville area district of Florida for over ten years, included lying on her taxes and congressional financial disclosure forms.
Federal prosecutors said Brown and her associates used a charity called One Door for Education to bring in more than $800,000 between 2012 and 2016.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson, a close friend of Brown during her time in Congress, sent us this statement: "This is a very sad news for my friend and former colleague and the people of Florida". She lost re-election last fall after her indictment.
Prosecutors said Brown, a resident of Jacksonville, was aided in the conspiracy by her former chief of staff, Elias Simmons, and Carla Wiley, the president of the fraudulent charity. Brown was named in a 24-count indictment past year.
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Brown was quiet and emotionless as she walked out of the courtroom, but her supporters were not.
Judge Corrigan said Juror 8 told the courtroom deputy that "this other juror was making a comment about higher beings and also mentioned Corrine Brown's name". She was defeated in her 2016 primary race.
The trial against Brown began late last month, where she was accused of diverting funds from a charitable foundation she'd set up for poor children for her own use to pay for a lavish lifestyle that included Beverly Hills shopping sprees.
Simmons and Wiley previously pleaded guilty to charges stemming from their involvement in the scheme. Brown's indictment said the Virginia-based One Door gave out only one scholarship, for $1,200, to an unidentified person in Florida. Characterized as a defender for those in her district, she had a reputation for doing what she said she would. Brown's personal account. Sometimes he kept some for himself. The organizations' director also said that Brown directed him to withdraw money from One Door's accounts and direct it into her personal accounts.
There are two things that require attorneys' presence: if a jury has a question - or a verdict, or a 10-minute warning for a question, and a 15-minute warning for a verdict. She said she should have paid more attention and been involved with the dealings of her professional and personal finances.
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