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  1. #1
    Senior Member lorrie's Avatar
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    Congress woman faces 357 years in prison - Phony charity turned Slush-Fund

    Corrine Brown defiant after pleading not guilty to 22 federal counts

    If convicted on all charges, congresswoman faces up to 357 years in prison



    By Jim Piggott - Reporter , Lynnsey Gardner - Investigative reporter , Vic Micolucci - Reporter , Chris Parenteau - Reporter
    Posted: 8:06 AM, July 08, 2016 Updated: 6:43 PM, July 08, 2016

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida and her chief of staff pleaded not guilty Friday to multiple fraud charges and other federal offenses in a grand jury indictment unsealed after an investigation into what prosecutors call a phony charity turned into a personal slush fund.

    Brown, 69, of Jacksonville faces 22 counts and her chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, 50, of Laurel, Maryland, faces 19 counts in an indictment unsealed after a months-long investigation into an unlicensed educational charity based in Virginia.

    Both are charged with participating in a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, multiple counts of mail and wire fraud, and concealing material facts on required financial disclosure forms. Simmons is charged with theft of government property. Brown is charged with obstruction of the due administration of the internal revenue laws and filing false tax returns.

    Brown, who is running for re-election in her recently drastically re-drawn Congressional district, has fought off challenges over two decades in Congress and continues to insist she is innocent of all charges.

    "My heart is really heavy. This has been a very difficult time for me, my family, my constituents, but I'm looking forward to a speedy day in court to vindicate myself," Brown said as she left the courthouse. "I'm looking forward to presenting the rest of the story." [Watch Brown's full remarks]
    According to the indictment, Brown used money from her campaign to give to the charity, One Door for Education and, at times, deposited some of that money into her own personal bank account.

    If convicted on all charges, Brown could be sentenced up to 357 years in prison and fined $4.8 million. Simmons could face up to 355 years in prison and $4.75 million in fines.

    Brown stepped down late Friday as senior Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

    "Due to House rules, I am temporarily stepping down as the ranking member," Brown said in a statement released after 5 p.m. Friday. "I am innocent of the charges announced today and intend to vigorously defend myself in court against these politically motivated allegations. I am certain this will not be a distraction from my service to the people of Florida's 5th Congressional District who elected me and I am confident I will be cleared of these charges."
    House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called the charges "deeply saddening" but said Brown did the right thing pending resolution of the case.


    Judge James Klindt, Corrine Brown in court

    Brown blew a kiss to the people in the gallery as she first entered the hearing, and her attorney, Bill Sheppard, pleaded not guilty to all counts on her behalf, but U.S. Magistrate Judge James Klindt told him it wasn't yet time for that. As the indictment was read and the number of counts and possible charges were detailed, Brown appeared to wipe away tears.

    After all the criminal charges were read in court, Brown and Simmons both acknowledged they understood the charges and potential penalty, and both entered a not guilty plea. A trial date was set for Sept. 6 before U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan, who was recently in the news as the subject of an assassination attempt.
    Prosecutors recommended both be held on $150,000 bond, but Klindt decided on $50,000 bonds, and it will be unsecured, meaning they will not have to put up any money. The U.S. attorney also wanted Brown and Simmons to surrender their passports, but the judge did not require that. Brown's next required appearance in court will be a July 26 status conference. Simmons next required appearance in court will be the trial on Sept. 6.

    Neither can have any contact with Carla Wiley, president of One Door, or Von Alexander, a Democratic consultant and onetime employee of Brown's congressional office, outside of presence of their attorneys.

    Prosecutors claim Brown, Simmons and Wiley used money donated to the charity to buy plane tickets, repair their personal cars and to pay for luxury vacations in the Bahamas, Los Angeles and Miami Beach. The indictment said more than $200,000 from the charity was used to pay for Brown to host a golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, to pay for lavish receptions, a luxury box at a Beyonce concert and a box when the Jacksonville Jaguars played the Washington Redskins.

    The tax fraud charges against Brown date back to 2008.

    “Our office is committed to ferreting out and prosecuting all forms of corruption and fraud, regardless of who the offender is,” U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III said as the indictment was released Friday morning. “In our nation, no one is above the law.”

    "Congresswoman Brown and her chief of staff are alleged to have used the Congresswoman's official position to solicit over $800,000 in donations to a supposed charitable organization, only to use that organization as a personal slush fund," said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell. "Corruption erodes the public's trust in our entire system of representative government. One of the department's most important responsibilities is to root out corruption at all levels of government and to bring wrongdoers to justice."

    A grand jury only needs to find probable cause to return an indictment; it does not need to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Grand jury proceedings are to be secret, and a grand jury hears only from prosecutors, not defense lawyers, to decide if there is probable cause to move forward with charges. If charges are filed, that person is arrested, or brought before a judge and notified of the charges.

    It's not until trial that a defendant can present a defense in court, but as Brown and one of her attorneys emerged from the courthouse Friday, they said were angry with prosecutors for how the investigation was handled.

    Brown's defense team lash out at prosecutors

    “Congresswoman Brown is the subject of an indictment today, but in reality she has endured a one-sided inquisition in the court of public opinion for over one year," Betsy White said. "From the moment the grand jury began its investigation, the government and its willing participants, have willfully ignored the legal mandate of grand jury secrecy and have intentionally disclosed confidential information to the media and others.” [Watch White's full remarks]

    White was also angered by the timing of the indictment.

    "Brown agreed to fully comply and turn herself in, but requested that she be allowed to surrender next week after the House was no longer in session," White said. "Given the length of time that the congresswoman has been under investigation, as has been so publicly reported, such a request was not reasonable. Yet the government refused to offer an accommodation, so Congresswoman Brown could cast critical votes in Congress.”

    White said the way the U.S. Attorney's office handled this case, "leads to the inescapable conclusion that it desires to improperly influence the upcoming election and undermine the legislative process."

    Political experts, former prosecutor react

    Rick Mullaney, with Jacksonville University's Public Policy Institute, and Jennifer Carroll, former lieutenant governor and News4Jax's political analyst, both believe Brown will work to keep her office, despite the indictment.

    "The congresswoman has made it clear she is going to fight the charges. And after the indictment -- we should be clear that an indictment does not disqualify her from running, and it does not disqualify her as a member of Congress -- I think you can expect to see the congresswoman continue to seek re-election to the 5th congressional district," Mullaney said.

    State Sen. Audrey Gibson released a statement calling Brown "the victim of circumstances, wherein she trusted someone whom she thought had a heart for the underserved, as she does."

    Gibson recounted Brown's accomplishments brining a Veteran's Administration clinic to Jacksonville, helping fund Jacksonville's port, health care coverage and helping students and parents access low-interest loans.

    "Congresswoman Brown has devoted countless hours to her constituents while balancing legislative and personal life in a district that had suffered from institutional neglect for years," Gibson wrote. "I look forward to her exoneration when the true facts are laid for years."

    Connection to questionable charity

    Wiley, the president of One Door for Education Foundation, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in March, in connection with the questionable Virginia-based nonprofit.



    Those public court documents also detailed a scheme to defraud donors out of $800,000. Court documents show the money was used to benefit individuals identified only as Person A and Person B. Person A was described as a public official, and Person B was described as an associate of Person A.

    It's now clear that Person A was Brown and Person B was Simmons. News4Jax learned that Simmons was dating Wiley and the two of them took at least one trip taken using charity funds.

    Court filings show Wiley deposited the $800,000 into the group's bank account over the past four years, but gave out two scholarships: one for $1,000 and one for $200. Wiley transferred thousands of dollars to herself; the money was also used to fund parties, an NFL luxury box and other extravagances in Washington, D.C.

    The documents also show One Door for Education was never properly registered with the IRS as a nonprofit organization. The I-TEAM obtained a flier for a 2013 golfing fundraiser at TPC Sawgrass. It showed the event was hosted by Brown and sponsored by One Door for Education.

    Brown's photo also appeared on the One Door for Education's website, shown in the same photos as Wiley. Despite that, Brown publicly denied knowing Wiley to reporters in May.

    "Who? I don't know who that is," Brown said. "Don't discuss local gossip with me."

    That same month, federal prosecutors asked a judge to delay Wiley’s sentencing because she was being a “cooperative witness.”

    Copyright 2016 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.



    http://www.news4jax.com/news/investi...-federal-court

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    Top Democrat on House vet affairs committee charged with fraud

    By Jason Dearen and Curt Anderson
    Associated Press
    Published: July 8, 2016



    Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., at a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing in November, 2015.
    JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida and her chief of staff pleaded not guilty Friday to multiple fraud charges and other federal offenses in a grand jury indictment unsealed after an investigation into what prosecutors call a phony charity turned into a personal slush fund.

    Brown, a 69-year-old Democrat, and Chief of Staff Elias "Ronnie" Simmons, 50, entered pleas in Jacksonville federal court on charges of mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, obstruction and filing of false tax returns.

    She has represented a Jacksonville-based congressional district since 1993 — one of the first three African-Americans elected to Congress from Florida since Reconstruction— and is seeking re-election in a newly redrawn district. Later Friday, Brown released a statement saying she was temporarily stepping down as ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, in accordance with House rules.

    House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who called the charges against Brown "deeply saddening," said that for more than two decades "Brown has served her constituents in Florida with passion and energy. She has been a champion for America's veterans."

    The 24-count indictment comes after an investigation into the purported charity One Door for Education Foundation Inc., which federal prosecutors say was billed as a way to give scholarships to poor students but instead filled the coffers of Brown and her associates.

    After the hearing, Brown predicted she would be cleared at trial. She was surrounded by supporters outside the courthouse, some carrying signs. One read, "Justice or else. Corrine matters."

    "My heart is just really heavy. But I'm looking forward to a speedy day in court to vindicate myself," Brown said. "We will present the other side."

    Brown and Simmons, of Laurel, Maryland, were both released on $50,000 bail and ordered not to travel outside the U.S. A status hearing was set for July 26. Simmons, who has been Brown's chief of staff since 1993, declined comment after the hearing.

    Earlier this year, One Door President Carla Wiley pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud after it was determined that she had deposited $800,000 into the foundation's account over four years. Over that time, federal prosecutors say it gave one scholarship for $1,000 and $200 to an unidentified person in Florida, while Wiley transferred herself tens of thousands of dollars.

    "Congresswoman Brown and her chief of staff are alleged to have used the congresswoman's official position to solicit over $800,000 in donations to a supposed charitable organization, only to use that organization as a personal slush fund," Assistant U.S. Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, chief of the Justice Department's criminal division, said in a statement.
    "Corruption erodes the public's trust in our entire system of representative government," Caldwell added.

    The indictment says that Brown, Simmons and Wiley "used the vast majority" of One Door donations for their personal and professional benefit, including tens of thousands of dollars in cash deposits that Simmons made to Brown's personal bank accounts.

    According to the indictment, more than $200,000 in One Door funds were used to pay for events hosted by Brown or held in her honor, including a golf tournament, lavish receptions during an annual Washington conference and the use of luxury boxes for a Beyonce concert and an NFL game between the Washington Redskins and Jacksonville Jaguars.

    One Door money was also used for such things are repairs to Brown's car and vacations to locations such as the Bahamas, Miami Beach and Los Angeles. In addition, House of Representatives money was used to pay a "close family member" of Simmons identified as "Person C" more than $735,000 between 2001 and 2016 for a job in Brown's office that involved little or no work, according to the indictment. Simmons allegedly benefited from some of that money.

    "Our office is committed to ferreting out and prosecuting all forms of corruption and fraud, regardless of who the offender is," said U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley. "In our nation, no one is above the law."

    Documents previously obtained by The Associated Press from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer's office show that he received an invitation bearing the seal of the House of Representatives to a July 13, 2013 golf tournament called the "Corrine Brown Invitational." It was sponsored by the One Door organization and coincided with a freight and rail industry symposium in Jacksonville.

    Potential donors attending the tournament received letters from One Door with Brown's signature and official House seal asking them to give from $125 up to $20,000 to One Door, according to Wiley's plea agreement.

    The invitation said the donations would benefit a scholarship fund for the Jacksonville chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, or COMTO, and other charities. Authorities say none of the charities received any of the money raised.

    http://www.stripes.com/news/us/top-d...fraud-1.418035



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    Former Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown convicted of fraud scheme


    By Tal Kopan, CNN
    Updated 4:17 PM ET, Thu May 11, 2017




    Washington (CNN)A former member of Congress was found guilty Thursday on federal charges related to a fake education charity.

    Former Rep. Corrine Brown, who represented Florida as a Democrat, was convicted in Jacksonville, Florida, on 18 counts, according to the Justice Department.

    Charges against Brown, 70, included conspiracy involving the fraudulent scholarship charity, filing false tax returns and concealing income on congressional disclosure forms.

    The Justice Department said Brown and two co-conspirators solicited more than $800,000 in donations for the One Door for Education -- Amy Anderson Scholarship Fund between 2012 and 2016, frequently from individuals and companies Brown knew through her congressional position. One Door was not a registered nonprofit and most of the money went to their own pockets or was spent on lavish events in Brown's honor, DOJ said.

    Elias "Ronnie" Simmons, Brown's former chief of staff, and Carla Wiley, the One Door president, both pleaded guilty previously, in February of this year and March 2016, respectively.

    The group was indicted in 2016, and Brown stepped down from her congressional leadership post -- though not her congressional seat -- after the charges were announced.

    While facing the indictment Brown ran for re-election, but was defeated in her primary last year.

    A sentencing date has not been set.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/11/politi...aud/index.html




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  5. #5
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    That's one.

    Ever wonder why so many congresscritters have 'charities'?

    Investigate all of them.

  6. #6
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    Throw HRC in prison with her...misery loves company!
    ILLEGAL ALIENS HAVE "BROKEN" OUR IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

    DO NOT REWARD THEM - DEPORT THEM ALL

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    POLITICS


    Former Dem Congresswoman Sentenced To Five Years In Prison On Corruption Charges


    HENRY RODGERS
    Political Reporter
    12:36 PM 12/04/2017


    Former Florida Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown was sentenced to five years in federal prison Monday on number of charges including tax fraud and tax crimes.

    A judge sentenced Brown to five years in prison and a 3-year supervised release. Brown will be forced to surrender to authorities sometime after Jan. 8., according to CBS 47.
    The jury convicted Brown of stealing money from a fake charity, One Door For Education. The “charity” was supposed to give scholarships to children who could not afford school but instead the Democratic congresswoman used the donations to go on trips and purchase expensive items. She also used the money to host parties.

    Brown was seen praying with a group of supporters before her hearing, knowing she was facing life in prison.
    WATCH: VIDEOs At The Link

    Brown’s attorney was pleading for a probation deal to avoid jail time, but the judge slapped Brown with five years behind bars.
    http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/04/fo...ption-charges/

    See Also:

    Communist Party Members You Voted Into Congress.



    • Posted 08/20/09

    House Members
    Hon. Neil Abercrombie (HI-01)
    Hon. Tammy Baldwin (WI-02)
    Hon. Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
    Hon. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
    Hon. Robert Brady (PA-01)
    Hon. Corrine Brown (FL-03)

    https://www.alipac.us/f9/communist-p...ngress-300898/

    Indicted Democrat partied with Pelosi, flew with Obama, and campaigned for Clinton

    By PHILIP WEGMANN

    2/9/17 4:18 PM
    https://www.alipac.us/f9/indicted-de...linton-343745/



    Dem Congresswoman’s Campaign Pays Chinese Embassy for Student Visas

    BY: Lachlan Markay
    October 15, 2015 11:50 am
    https://www.alipac.us/f9/dem-congres...-visas-324430/


    FBI Agent Testifies Money From Fake Charity Went Into Former Rep. Brown’s Personal Account

    BY: Madeleine Weast
    April 27, 2017 1:54 pm
    https://www.alipac.us/f19/fbi-agent-...nal-ac-346514/
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