A federal judge sentenced former Florida U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown on Monday to five years in federal prison for fraud and tax crimes involving a fake charity that raised more than $800,000, The Florida Times-Union reported.
“This is a sad day for everyone. I was impressed with all the outpouring of support for you, and I think it’s a tribute to all the work you’ve done over the years. That’s what makes this all the more tragic,” Judge Timothy Corrigan told the Jacksonville Democrat in the courtroom.
Brown, 71, was convicted in May on 18 counts of an indictment, which accused her of participating in a conspiracy involving a fraudulent education charity, called One Door for Education, a U.S. Department of Justice statement said. She also provided false information on financial disclosure forms and avoided paying taxes. Her accomplices also received prison sentences: former chief of staff Ronnie Simmons was sentenced to 48 months, and Carla Wiley, the president of One Door for Education, received 21 months. “This was a crime born of entitlement and greed, committed to supporting a lifestyle that was beyond their means,” Corrigan told the defendants, noting that the money they fraudulently spent could have been used to help scores of children.
Here’s a timeline of Brown’s downfall:
1982: Brown was elected to the Florida House of Representatives.
1992: Brown wins her bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representative, representing Jacksonville and portions of the surrounding area.
2011: Wiley established One Door for Education, but the IRS did not grant nonprofit charity status to the organization.
2012: Simmons, who was in a relationship with Wiley, convinced her to relaunch the organization and open a bank account for it.
2012 – 2016: One Door for Education raised more than $800,000, telling donors that the money would go toward scholarships for low-income students. However, investigators discovered that the trio spent more than $330,000 on personal gifts, travel and events in Brown’s honor.
2016: In January, federal agents served subpoenas to Brown, Simmons and Wiley.
2016: In March, Wiley reached a plea deal and began cooperating with the government.
2016: In July, prosecutors indicted Brown in part on information received from Wiley.
2016: In August, Brown lost her re-election bid to Congress.
2017: In February, Simmons changed his plea to guilty and started sharing information with federal prosecutors.
2017: In May, a jury convicted Brown.