Jacksonville: Corrine Brown sentenced to 5 years in prison

By: Jenna Bourne , Danae Leake , Action News Jax

Updated:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Former Rep. Corrine Brown had nothing to say to reporters as she left the federal courthouse in Jacksonville on Monday, under a court order to start serving a five-year prison sentence starting in the new year.

On Monday night, Brown was on her way to her home in Washington D.C. She will get to celebrate Christmas and the New Year, but with some restrictions on her freedom.

Brown must either stay in Florida or Washington D.C. No other travel is allowed without prior approval from the court. She must also surrender her passport.

She will report to the bureau of prisons to start her sentence some time after January 8.

Her former chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, who pleaded guilty and testified against Brown, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Simmons ex-girlfriend, the president of the charity all three are accused of stealing from, was sentenced to one year and nine months in prison.

Brown's attorney, James Smith, told the judge Brown will appeal the sentence. Judge Timothy Corrigan said it was a "sad day for everyone."

The judge also ordered Brown to pay more than $515,000 in restitution to her victims, including more than $62,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.

Action News Jax is working to find out if Brown will be allowed to keep her congressional pension.

12:19 p.m.: Corrine Brown leaves the federal courthouse without comment after a judge sentenced her to five years in prison.

11:49 a.m.: The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Jacksonville Special Agent in Charge Charles P. Spencer released a statement following Corrine Brown's sentencing:

"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.  I am proud of the exceptional work of the special agents, analysts and support personnel who spent countless hours following the money trail in this case.  Their work is some of the most complex, tedious, and significant work we do for the American public.  It is an exceptionally difficult task, but rooting out public corruption is a priority for which the FBI will continue to dedicate the resources necessary to investigate, because the impact on everyday people is real.  We 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.”

11:22 a.m.: A judge sentenced former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown to five years in prison and a 3-year supervised release. Brown will voluntarily surrender and her report date will not be earlier than Jan. 8.


SKETCHES: Corrine Brown sentencing in Jacksonville


Brown's attorney, James Smith, told the judge Brown will appeal the sentence. Judge Timothy Corrigan said it was a "sad day for everyone."

"I was impressed with the outpouring of support for you; testament to the work you've done over the years," Corrigan said.

Brown's former Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons was sentenced to 48 months in jail for conspiracy to commit mail/wire fraud and theft of government funds. 

11:01 a.m.: Judge sentences Carla Wiley, president of One Door for Education, to 21 months in prison and a 3-year supervised release for her part in former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown's fraud case.

9:30 a.m. Update: The Federal Courthouse is now open. Carla Wiley arrived and entered through a side door. 

Shantrel Brown, Corrine Brown's daughter, has also arrived at court. 

Ronnie Simmons arrived a few minutes later, also using the side entrance to the courthouse. 

9:15 a.m. Update: Corrine Brown arrives at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Jacksonville for her sentencing.  

Brown stopped to pray with supporters before entering the courthouse. 

Original Story: 

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown will learn Monday morning whether she will be sentenced to prison time.

In May, a jury convicted Brown on 18 counts for stealing from the charity One Door for Education, filing false tax returns and more.

Judge Timothy Corrigan will also sentence two accomplices who pleaded guilty and testified against Brown, Carla Wiley and Ronnie Simmons.


MORE: Corrine Brown to be sentenced in December, judge says


The advisory guideline range from Brown’s probation officer is seven to nine years in prison.

Brown’s attorney, James Smith, is asking Corrigan to sentence the 71-year-old former congresswoman to probation instead, citing her record of public service, health and age.

“I ask that you take into consideration all that I’ve done in my life and I’ve come to ask for mercy and compassion,” Brown told the judge during her Nov. 16 sentencing hearing.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office accused Brown of lying on the witness stand.

If the judge decides that’s true, it will increase her sentence.

Prosecutor Tysen Duva urged the judge at Brown’s November sentencing hearing not to sentence Brown to anything less than five years in prison.

In November, Corrigan agreed to reduce the sentencing guideline ranges for Brown’s accomplices Ronnie Simmons and Carla Wiley because their cooperation and testimony helped convict the former congresswoman.

For Wiley, the president of the so-called bogus charity all three are accused of stealing from, the judge accepted a reduced guideline range of 21-27 months imprisonment.

Wiley pleaded guilty March 4, 2016, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, with a cooperation plea agreement.

Prosecutors say her cooperation was essential to indicting Brown and Wiley’s ex-boyfriend, Ronnie Simmons.

Wiley’s attorney, Gray Thomas, is asking that the judge sentence her to no prison time.

For Simmons, Brown’s former chief of staff, the judge recommended 33-41 months imprisonment.

Simmons pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, as well as one count of theft of government funds.

The second count is a result of Simmons getting his sister a job working for Brown in the House of Representatives, where she earned hundreds of thousands of dollars but did little to no work.

Corrigan made it clear he may not stick to Brown’s, Wiley’s or Simmons’ sentencing guideline ranges when he hands down their sentences Monday morning. 

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