Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Florida) and her chief of staff were charged Friday in a federal indictment alleging conspiracy and fraud involving an unregistered charity.

  • Corrine Brown, staffer charged in federal indictment
  • They face 24 charges, including fraud, theft, filing false tax returns

Brown, 69, of Jacksonville, Florida, and her chief of staff, Elias "Ronnie" Simmons, 50, of Laurel, Maryland, face 24 charges, including multiple counts of mail and wire fraud, concealing facts on financial disclosure forms, theft of government property, obstruction of internal revenue laws, and filing false tax returns.

She arrived at the Jacksonville federal courthouse at about 10:40 a.m. Friday. The announcement was made by the U.S. Attorney's Office, FBI agents and the IRS.

"Congresswoman Brown and her chief of staff are alleged to have used the Congresswoman's official position to solicit over $800,000 in donations to a supposed charitable organization, only to use that organization as a personal slush fund," Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell said in a statement. "Corruption erodes the public's trust in our entire system of representative government. One of the department's most important responsibilities is to root out corruption at all levels of government and to bring wrongdoers to justice."

The indictment says that between late 2012 and early 2016, Brown and Simmons participated in a scheme involving One Door for Education – Amy Anderson Scholarship Fund in which they and others solicited more than $800,000 in charitable donations based on bogus representations that the donations would be used for college scholarships and school computer drives, among other things.

Brown, a member of the Democratic party, is running for re-election in a newly redrawn district that runs from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. Her old district ran from Jacksonville to Orlando, including parts of Duval, Clay, Putnam, Alachua, Volusia, Marion, Lake, Seminole and Orange counties.

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