Former Congresswoman sentenced to five years in prison

Corrine Brown

By Frederick H. Lowe

A federal judge on Monday sentenced former U.S. Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D., Florida) to five years in prison, following her conviction in May for mail fraud and a host of other crimes.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Corrigan said it was a ‘sad day’ after he sentenced her. She has been ordered to report to prison between now and January.

The jury found Brown guilty for her role in Open Door for Education, a non-profit organization that claimed to provide scholarships for low-income students. Open Door raised more than $800,000 but only three scholarships were awarded.

Most of the money went to Brown’s former chief of staff, his girlfriend and to Brown herself to fund their lavish lifestyles including attending Beyoncé concerts and Jacksonville Jaguars National Football League games. She was born in Jacksonville.

A 12-person jury in Florida also convicted Brown of filing false tax returns and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

In all, Brown, a former member of the Congressional Black Caucus, was convicted of 18 of 20 felonies. The jury announced its decision May 11.

Brown served in Congress from 1973 to 2017.  She was defeated for re-election in the 2016 Democratic primary by Al Lawson Jr., a state representative.

She represented Florida’s 5th Congressional District, which snakes vertically through the northeastern region of the state. The area includes portions of Duval, Clay, Putnam, Alachua, Marion, Lake, Seminole and Orange counties.

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