“This is a sad day for everyone,” said Judge Corrigan after sentencing Corrine Brown to prison. “I was impressed with all the outpouring of support for you, and I think it’s a tribute to all the work you’ve done over the years. That’s what makes this all the more tragic.” (Jacksonville.com). The former congresswoman was sentenced to five years in federal prison following her sham fundraiser conspiracy which amounted to $800, 000, which she used for personal expenses. Judge Corrigan pointed out that her actions showed misuse of power.

Ronnie Simmons and Carla Wiley also sentenced to time in prison

Other beneficiaries of the conspiracy included Brown’s chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, and founder of the scam charity, Carla Wiley -- who were sentenced to 48 months and 21 months respectively. In his statement, before sentencing Brown, Corrigan specified that Corrine Brown and Ronnie Simmons were equally responsible for the crimes committed and took the leading roles in the conspiracy, whereas Wiley took up the least amount. The judge also added that these actions were especially shameless as they took funds that were supposed to help create better learning opportunities for children in poverty, but instead the funds were used for selfish gains.

Though Brown remains free, she is expected to report to a yet to be determined federal prison no earlier than January 8. James Smith, the legal representative of Brown, said they would appeal the sentence. According to federal laws, Corrine should start serving her sentence when the appeal is pending, unless, the judge finds the issues raised by the defense substantial and likely to lead to a new trial or a shorter sentence which would take less time than the time he’ll need to decide on the appeal.

One Door for Education scam

Wiley started the charity One Door for Education in honor of her mother. After a period of inactivity, Simmons, who was dating Wiley at the time, suggested using it as a tool to extort money from Brown’s benefactors. The charity made close to one million dollars in donations by the start of the year 2016.

During the trial, Brown’s former benefactors were informed that only a small percentage of their money was used for real charity, while the rest was squandered on parties, sponsoring golf tournaments, and going to a Jaguars-Redskins game.

Simmons and Brown had been convicted of fraud last year, but Simmons took a plea deal and agreed to testify against Brown. Wiley admitted to committing wire fraud before Brown and Simmons were charged.