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Brown, Corrine (1946- )

Corrine Brown is a former politician and now convicted felon who served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida from 1993 to 2017.

Brown was born on November 11, 1946 in Jacksonville, Florida. She attended the local schools and then enrolled at Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University (A&M), earning her Bachelors in Science in 1969 and her Master's Degree in 1971. In 1984, Brown received an Educational Specialist Degree from the University of Florida. She first worked as a counselor at Florida Community college, before working as a teacher at Florida State College, Edward Waters College, and her alma mater. Brown owned and operated Springfield Travel Agency, before entering into politics.

In November of 1982, Brown was elected a member of the Florida House of Representatives, a position she held for the next ten years. In 1992, Brown beat Republican Don Weidner and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. That year, Brown, along with Alcee Hastings and Carrie Meek, were the first three African Americans elected to congress from Florida since the Reconstruction era in the 1870's.

Brown was the representative for Florida's 3rd congressional district from 1993 to 2012, and after reapportionment, the 5th district from 2013 to 2016. While in Congress Brown was a member of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee and was also the Second Vice Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. During this time she also received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Edward Waters College. In 2016, Brown ran for re-election, but was defeated by former state Senator Al Lawson.

Congresswoman Brown’s defeat came partly because of numerous financial controversies over donations or misappropriation of funds, but her final downfall came in a 2016 federal case.  Brown and her two co-conspirators, Carla Wiley and Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, were indicted on federal charges of fraud and tax evasion in July of 2016. The trio pled not guilty to a 22-count charge, relating to Brown's 'One Door for Education' Foundation. Federal prosecutors alleged that the foundation received several donations while scheduled to give out multiple scholarships, awarded only one with the conspirators keeping the rest of the money.  Brown was found guilty on 18 counts, and ordered to pay fines.

On December 4, 2017, Brown was sentenced to five years in prison. On January 29, 2018, she reported to Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Sumter County, Florida.  While appealing her convictions, Brown is still able to collect her congressional pension. Simmons is serving a four year sentence in a Maryland facility, and Wiley is serving a one year and nine month sentence in West Virginia.

Brown was never married. She has one daughter, Shantrell Brown, a lawyer based in Washington, D.C.

Sources:
Steve Patterson, “Decades of Drama,” The Florida Times Union, (Jacksonville.com), July 8. 2016, https://www.jacksonville.com/news/metro/2016-07-08/story/corrine-brown-decades-drama; Kevin Bohn, “Rep. Corrine Brown indicted for alleged role regarding fraudulent education charity”, CNN.com. July 8, 2016, https://www.cnn.com/2016/07/08/politics/rep-corrine-brown-indicted-for-alleged-role-regarding-fraudulent-education-charity/index.html, Scott Johnson, ”What becomes of Corrine Brown's property now that's she's in prison,” New4jax.com, January 29, 2018, https://www.news4jax.com/news/investigations/corrine-brown/what-becomes-of-corrine-brown-s-property-now-that-she-s-in-prison-.

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