A jury convicted former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown today of financial crimes that could put her in prison for years, potentially the rest of her life.
The verdict came three days after closing arguments in a trial where Brown was painted as living the high life on cash that aides secretly deposited in her bank account after passing it through other accounts.
Brown remained free after the verdict was announced. She is expected to be sentenced within 120 days.
The jury convicted Brown of 18 of the 22 separate criminal counts a grand jury indicted her for in July. The convictions involve conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, tax crimes and hiding income she should have publicly reported.
She was found not guilty of two counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud.
Brown could in theory be sentenced to decades in prison, but that decision is likely more than three months away. No sentencing date was immediately set.
Each fraud or conspiracy conviction carries a potential 20-year sentence, and each tax conviction three years. Hiding income could lead to another five-year sentence.
The convictions affirm parts of a narrative prosecutors told of Brown breaking laws while she lived an unsustainable expensive lifestyle that left her desperate for cash.
Jurors were told the brash 70-year-old Democratic icon, who spent 24 years in Congress before losing reelection last year, received $141,000 in untraceable cash over several years through sources including the sham charity One Door for Education and her Friends of Corrine Brown campaign committee.
An FBI accountant testified Brown, who earned around $175,000 a year as a member of Congress with a pension from the Florida Legislature, spent an average of $1,438 per month more than her reported income.
“Former Congresswoman Brown took an oath year after year to serve others, but instead she exploited the needs of children and deceived her constituents to advance her own personal and political agendas,” said FBI Jacksonville Division Special Agent in Charge Charles Spencer in a prepared statement.
“Corrupt public officials undermine the integrity of our government and violate the public’s trust, and that is why investigating public corruption remains the FBI’s top criminal priority,” Spencer said. “I am proud of our special agents, analysts and support personnel who spent countless hours following the money trail in this case, and thank our law enforcement partners at the IRS-CI and U.S. Attorney’s Office for their efforts to hold Brown and her associates accountable for their inexcusable actions.”
This story will be updated throughout the day.
— anne schindler (@schindy) May 11, 2017