A former Florida Congresswoman has been convicted of conspiracy, seven counts of wire fraud, five counts of mail fraud, one count of scheme to conceal material facts, one count of obstruction of IRS laws, and three charges of tax fraud. She was also found not guilty of two mail fraud counts and two wire fraud counts.
Corrine Brown, who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1993 to 2016, entered a trial to face 41 witnesses including her chief of staff. News4Jax has given details of the events leading up to and including the trial:
“The prosecution called 41 witnesses, including FBI and IRS agents, former donors, well-respected community leaders, and former Brown employees, to prove its allegations that Brown was greedy, had a “significant entitlement attitude,” and lived a lavish lifestyle using money stolen from One Door donors, who believed she was helping children with education.
Federal prosecutors said One Door raised $833,000 but gave only $1,200 in scholarships. During closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Olshan told jurors that the real victims are the worthy students who could have gotten scholarships.
Over several days of testimony, prosecutors documented that at least $300,000 of One Door's funds paid for receptions, luxury boxes at sporting events and concerts, and trips and expenses for Brown and her associates.”
Brown’s chief of staff Ronnie Simmons and the director of One Door Carla Wiley took plea deals in order to testify against Brown. Both Wiley and Simmons admitted on the stand that they had conspired to steal money through One Door.
“Simmons said that Brown did, too, and that she ordered him to take cash and checks from One Door's account. On dozens of occasions, Simmons said, he was told to take out of One Door's account the maximum $800 from an ATM near his house and deposit hundreds of it in Brown's personal account. Sometimes he kept some for himself.”
In response, Brown’s defense was left mostly to four character witnesses that followed with two days of Brown on the stand. Brown told the jury that she “did not steal” and the government’s assessment of her financial history was “garbage.”