Sunday, May 19, 2024

Rep. Corrine Brown Charged with 24 Counts of Fraud, Including Using Charity Funds for Beyonce Tickets

Rep. Corrine Brown, Beyonce

*Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) and her chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, are being charged with 24 counts of fraud in connection with a fake charity, according to a federal grand jury indictment that was released Friday.

Prosecutors accuse Brown and her associates of pocketing funds from a One Door for Education Inc., an organization that billed itself as a charity for poor students even though it was not properly registered as a nonprofit. According to the indictment, Brown used her office to lobby for donations to the fake charity.

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 pricey Washington receptions and for luxury box seats at a Beyonce concert and an NFL game, according to The Hill.

Money for the charity was also spent on luxury vacations in the Bahamas, Los Angeles and Miami Beach.

The charges include mail and wire fraud, conspiracy and tax fraud, according to the Department of Justice.

“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 U.S. Attorney General Leslie Caldwell in a statement.

The group’s president, Carla Wiley, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud earlier this year. Prosecutors say Wiley had deposited $800,000 into One Door’s account, but the organization had only given out two scholarships worth $1,200.

“It is incredibly disappointing that an elected official, who took an oath year after year to serve others, would exploit the needs of children and abuse the charitable hearts of constituents to advance her own personal and political agendas and deliver them with virtually nothing,” said FBI Special Agent Michelle Klimt in the statement.

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