On Monday, former Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) was sentenced to five years in prison for tax fraud involving a bogus charity. Donors to the charity One Door for Education thought they were sending scholarships to poor children, but Brown took the money for herself.
“It is incredibly disappointing that an elected official, who took an oath year after year to serve others, would exploit the needs of children and abuse the charitable hearts of constituents to advance her own personal and political agendas, and deliver them with virtually nothing,” FBI Jacksonville Special Agent Charles P. Spencer said in a statement on the case.
“It is an exceptionally difficult task, but rooting out public corruption is a priority for which the FBI will continue to dedicate the resources necessary to investigate, because the impact on everyday people is real,” Spencer declared.
Brown was convicted in May of 18 charges, including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, aiding and abetting mail fraud, aiding and abetting wire fraud, scheme to conceal material facts, corrupt endeavor to obstruct and impede the due administration of internal revenue law, and filing false tax returns.
Her two co-defendents, former Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons and Carla Wiley, president of the sham charity, were also sentenced to jail and prison time. Simmons will serve 48 months in jail and Wiley has been sentenced to 21 months in prison with 3-year supervised release, WOKV News reported.
Last year, Wiley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and agreed to cooperate with the government in the case. In July 2016, Brown and Simmons were indicted. Simmons pleaded guilty to some charges earlier this year, leading to Brown’s conviction.
The three used Wiley’s registered nonprofit, “One Door for Education,” to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and spent the money on lavish events. Wiley ran the organization truthfully until Simmons — her then-boyfriend — took control. Simmons would withdraw funds from the nonprofit and deposit them into Brown’s account, or give her cash.
According to the case, Simmons would also give Brown blank checks from the nonprofit’s account. Prosecutors determined that Wiley deposited $800,000 in One Door’s account over four years, during which time only one scholarship for $1,000 was sent to a needy child.
Brown served in Congress for nearly 25 years, until she was defeated in the 2016 Democratic primary. During that time, she made numerous misstatements and slip-ups which have made her infamous among conservatives and in the State of Florida.
It is tragic that a member of Congress took charge in a scheme that defrauded donors and needy children to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This case underscores just how important it is to thoroughly investigate corruption among political leaders, whether Republican or Democrat.
The sentence should also serve as a reminder that even politicians who have been defeated at the ballot box can still receive comeuppance for corruption during their term in office. If Hillary Clinton is guilty of corruption, as the Uranium One case suggests, she should be terrified at this news.