Disgraced former Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-FL) has been found guilty of 18 counts of fraud for her part in a scam involving a fake charity that raised $800,000.
Brown accepted money from One Door for Education, a nonprofit that claimed to provide scholarships to low-income students. Of the original $800,000, only about $1,200 ended up in a single scholarship “to an unidentified person in Florida.“
Where did the rest of the cash go? It paid for “lavish parties, trips, and shopping excursions” for Corrine Brown and her top aide, who covered her tracks (albeit ineffectively) by lying on disclosure forms and filing falsified tax returns. Brown pleaded not guilty to the original charges, but was indicted last fall following testimony from her former chief of staff, Elias ‘Ronnie’ Simmons, who himself stole hundreds of dollars from One Door’s funds. Like any good crime ring, however, it didn’t end there, and the president of One Door for Education, Carla Wiley, was also indicted after pleading guilty of misusing the charity funds.
Brown, who maintains her innocence, is set to be sentenced in “90 days or more.”
For more on the abuse of charities by disgraced Members of Congress, read CRC president Scott Walter’s piece on Charlie Rangel (D-NY), whose dealings with the humbly named Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service forced even his fellow House Democrats to bring him up on ethics charges.