Rep. Corrine Brown steps down from committee

A federal grand jury indicted U.S. Representative Corrine Brown of Florida and her chief of staff on fraud charges and other crimes, accusing them of funneling money for a bogus education charity to personal use, U.S. prosecutors said on Friday.

Brown will appear at a Florida courthouse to hear charges formally during a hearing scheduled for Friday at 1:00 p.m.

The indictment states that Simmons and Brown, who has been in the House since 1993, used more than $200,000 in charity funds to put on a golf tournament, throw extravagant Washington receptions and for luxury box seats at a Beyonce concert and an National Football League game.

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida says she's temporarily stepping down as ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs as she defends herself against federal fraud charges.

Brown and Simmons, of Laurel, Maryland, were both released on $50,000 bail and ordered not to travel outside the U.S.

Brown was also criticized for having a daughter who works as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. Brown repeatedly requested earmarks for organizations her daughter represents as a lobbyist.

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The Democratic congresswoman from the state of Florida has insisted she did nothing wrong, and is now running for re-election in November.

Brown and Simmons solicited donations from individuals and corporate entities that Brown knew by virtue of her position in the U.S. House of Representatives. Her old district ran from Jacksonville to Orlando. “In our nation, no one is above the law.”. 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.

Brown had long promoted a group called One Door for Education as a charity, but in early March, the head of the organization pled guilty to wire fraud.

One Door director Carla Wiley pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in March. tried to reach Brown's press secretary David Simon for comment, but he was unavailable.

Brown and Simmons are accused of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars meant for the nonprofit organization and instead using it for their own personal and professional benefit, said Richard Weber, chief of IRS criminal investigation. In her plea deal, Wiley admitted to diverting over $150,000 of the charity's funds to hold events benefiting a public official identified only as "Person A". Brown appeared on materials, such as brochures, for the group, including a golf tournament at which money was raised.

  • Douglas Reid