Former Florida Democratic congresswoman, Corrine Brown, has been sentenced to five years in prison for mail, wire and tax fraud involving a sham charity, according to Fox News. Brown was pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors that thought their money was going to a charity. But in reality, the charity was a sham.
Brown, along with her chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, solicited donations for One Door for Education and informed the donors that the money would be funding scholarships for minority students. Brown & Simmons raised more than $800,000 but only $1,200 was awarded as scholarships. The money that was pocketed was spent on lavish events if it didn’t go straight into the congresswoman’s bank account.
A federal judge sentenced Brown on 18 crimes that ranged from conspiracy to fraud.
“It is a sad day for everyone. It is a sad day for this community,” Judge Timothy Corrigan said in court, according to The Associated Press. “I was impressed with all the outpouring of support for you and it’s a tribute to you and the work you’ve done … and that makes it more tragic and sad.”
After being elected to the house in 1992, Brown served 12 terms. She became one of the first three African-American lawmakers from Florida to be elected to Congress. Brown was indicted last year on 24-counts and lost last year’s election because of it.
Brown has blamed Simmons for all the wrongdoings. Though Judge Corrigan didn’t believe the explanation, he did lessen Brown’s sentence. Brown’s lawyer vowed to appeal.