Former Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown has been sentenced to five years in federal prison following her conviction earlier this year on corruption charges. She was found guilty of using funds from a phony charity to enjoy a lavish lifestyle.
Brown, 71, managed to raise over $800,000 for a sham charity called One Door for Education, the Florida Times-Union reported. She then used the money to hold events in her honor, including glitzy receptions in Washington D.C., a luxury-suite soiree at a Beyonce concert, and a box-seat bash at a Jaguars-Redskins game.
“This is a sad day for everyone,” U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan said after sentencing. “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.”
“This was a crime born of entitlement and greed, committed to supporting a lifestyle that was beyond their means,” he added. “Just think of the good that could have been done with that money if it would have been used for its intended purpose.”
Brown’s chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, was sentenced to 48 months in prison, while the founder of the bogus charity, Carly Wiley, was sentenced to 21 months. Brown’s attorney says that her client will appeal the ruling, which will also see the disgraced former lawmaker serve three years’ probation.
First elected to Congress in 1992, Brown was known for her ability to secure federal funding for her Jacksonville constituency. She was defeated in the 2016 Democratic primary, largely due to the looming corruption case.
“Ms. Brown leveraged the authority of her office and the relationships she had cultivated to illegal purpose,” Corrigan said. “In the process, she cast aside the very laws that she helped to enact. The rules, she decided, did not apply to her.”