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Jax Daily Record Friday, Jul. 8, 201612:00 PM EST

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and chief of staff charged in 24-count indictment


U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and her chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, were indicted today for roles in a conspiracy and fraud scheme relating to a bogus education charity.

In all, they were charged in a 24-count indictment with participating in a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, multiple counts of mail and wire fraud, concealing material facts on required financial disclosure forms, theft of government property, obstruction of the due administration of the internal revenue laws and filing false tax returns.

RELATED: Read the indictment here.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Caldwell said in a news release they used Brown’s position to solicit more than $800,000 in donations to the sham charity, One Door for Education, as a “personal slush fund.”

The money for the two along with Carla Wiley, One Door president, and others was used for personal and professional benefit, the release said.

More than $200,000 is said to have been used to pay for events hosted by Brown or held in her honor. Those include a golf tournament, “lavish receptions” during an annual Washington, D.C., conference and the use of a luxury box during an NFL game.

The indictment alleges the activities took place from late 2012 to early 2016.

Only two scholarships totaling $1,200 were awarded.

Simmons also is charged with theft of government property based on the misuse of his position to obtain congressional employment for a close relative. In all, $735,000 in government salary was paid, of which Simmons diverted $80,000 for personal benefit.

Wiley pleaded guilty to her involvement in March.

“Our office is committed to ferreting out and prosecuting all forms of corruption and fraud, regardless of who the offender is,” said U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley III. “In our nation, no one is above the law.”

The two are making their initial appearance in court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Klindt.


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