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Crime and punishment

Former congresswoman found guilty of taking money from fake charity

On Thursday, a jury found former Rep. Corrine Brown, accused of taking money from a charity that claimed it was giving scholarships to needy students, guilty of 18 out of 22 charges against her, including lying on her taxes and congressional financial disclosure forms.

Brown, a Democrat from Florida, was first elected in 1993, and last fall, lost her seat after she was indicted. Brown's indictment said the One Door for Education Foundation brought in more than $800,000 between 2012 and 2016, but gave out just one scholarship, worth $1,200, to an unknown Floridian. Prosecutors say Brown received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the fake charity and used the money to take expensive trips and throw extravagant parties.

Brown, 70, pleaded not guilty to all charges, and testified that she had no idea how the money was being used, blaming the theft on Elias "Ronnie" Simmons, her former chief of staff and president of One Door. Simmons pleaded guilty and testified against Brown, saying she ordered him to transfer money from One Door's bank account to hers; he also said he sometimes kept funds for himself. Brown won't be sentenced for at least three months.