Prosecutors: Corrine Brown deserves ‘significant punishment' in her sentencing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –  Prosecutors are requesting that former Congresswoman Corrine Brown receive a substantial sentence with jail time and hundreds of thousands of dollars of restitution, based on newly released court documents in her case.

Brown, 70, was convicted in May on 18 counts of federal fraud and corruption charges and her sentencing is scheduled for Thursday morning.

She has previously asked for delays in her sentencing, either due to storm damage to her home or mental and physical welfare checks. Those motions were denied.

Prosecutors in the case have requested leniency for her cohorts, Carla Wiley and Ronnie Simmons for truthful testimony and help in the trial.

With her sentencing now less than a week away, what will the former congresswoman face as penalty?

The Sentencing Memorandum states Brown deceived donors and frequently had money deposited into her bank accounts. But that’s not all.

She also lied on her tax returns about donations to Edward Waters College, and inflated her tithes to Bethel Baptist Church and New Destiny Christian Center, while blaming others for her indiscretions, the documents said.

“This longstanding criminal conduct and willingness to shift blame underscores why significant punishment is required in this case,” the document said.

The memorandum doesn’t specifically lay out a sentencing plan for Brown, but listed a slew of reasons why her sentencing should match the crime.  Her defense team is requesting that she receive probation.

U.S. District Court documents order for the forfeiture of $664,292.39, which represents “the amount of proceeds the defendant obtained as a result of her participation in a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and aiding and abetting mail and wire fraud.”

Brown accumulated these funds through a fake charity, One Door for Education. More than $833,000 was deposited into this fake charity’s bank account.

The document issued Thursday states that “despite taking in thousands of dollars in donations, One Door for Education distributed only two scholarships to students.”

While the document states the defendant should be held liable individually for the sum previously listed, the U.S. will not collect more than the collective sum of $654,292.39 from the defendant and her co-conspirators Elias Simmons and Carla Wiley.

The United States Sentencing Memorandum released Thursday has scathing descriptions and damning evidence against Brown.

“She became corrupt,” the document said. “Society expects courts to punish convicted and corrupt politicians.”

The document also states Brown’s tax fraud scheme spanned three election cycles.

“Brown’s culture of fraud became more brazen over time and culminated in the One Door for Education fraud,” the document said.

The newly released document states Brown has used distractions to try and make herself look better despite all of the evidence. It also alludes to statements made by Brown where she “stooped so low” by stating if the FBI hadn’t been investigating her activities, then the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando that took the lives of dozens of people may not have happened. Brown also claimed the prosecution was racially motivated and that the investigation into her activities was hidden from then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

“Corrine Brown’s mantra that the prosecution was racially and politically motivated is, and always has been, a complete fabrication meant to distract the public – and no doubt potential jurors --  from the very serious allegations against her,” the document said.

Other documents released in the case show copies of checks written to One Door for Education, including one for $25,000.

The documents also detail cash withdrawals from the One Door for Education Capital One account, as well as cash, applied to Corrine Brown’s personal bank accounts. Numerous transactions were listed, with withdrawals and deposits typically happening in $800 increments.

Brown also used more than $330,000 worth of One Door for Education Expenditures in connection to Corrine Brown events, including a suite at a Jacksonville Jaguars game in 2014, a Beyoncé concert in 2013, and numerous Corrine Brown receptions that were tens of thousands of dollars.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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