Corrine Brown, 71, was a member of the House of Representatives since 1993. But the comfy life she once knew was turned completely upside down when it was discovered that her unregistered nonprofit was being used as a “personal slush fund,” according to Assistant U.S. Attorney General Leslie Caldwell.
The nonprofit, One Door for Education Inc., was sold to donors as a charity for poor students. However, the funds received by the charity went towards luxurious vacations in the Bahamas, lavish receptions in Washington, D.C., a golf tournament, tickets to a Beyoncé concert and box seats at an NFL game.
“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,” Caldwell explained of Brown and her chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons.
Only two scholarships, worth $1,200 each, were given during the entire time the supposed charity existed.
She was charged with and convicted of 22 counts of fraud and tax evasion.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan sentenced Brown to 5 years in federal prison.
“This was a crime born out of entitlement and greed committed to ensure a lifestyle that was beyond their means,” Corrigan later said, calling their actions “shameless.”
Simmons was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison. Carla Wiley, the charity’s president, was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison.