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Florida congresswoman indicted over fake charity

Seattle readers may be interested to learn that a Florida congresswoman and her chief of staff have been indicted over a scheme involving a fake education charity. The pair allegedly used the representative's official position to solicit more than $800,000 in donations but used most of the money for other purposes.

According to authorities, Rep. Corrine Brown, a Democrat, and her chief of staff solicited donations to a charity known as One Door for Education Foundation Inc. from late 2012 until early 2016. The funds were supposed to be used for college scholarships and school computers, but the pair allegedly used tens of thousands of dollars of the money for things like conference receptions and a luxury suite at an NFL game. Investigators allege that only two scholarships totaling $1,200 were actually awarded to students. The president of One Door was also involved in the scheme. She pleaded guilty to charges in March.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Brown and her chief of staff face a variety of fraud and other serious charges. Brown has served Florida's 5th Congressional District, which stretches from Jacksonville to Orlando, since 1992.

Fraud and other white-collar crimes can carry serious penalties, including lengthy prison terms and heavy fines. People who are facing such charges could help their situation by contacting a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. There are a number of strategies that could be employed to build a strong defense and fight the charges in court. However, in some cases, an attorney may recommend negotiating for a plea deal that reduces the charges and penalties.

Source: US News, "Florida Congresswoman Indicted in Alleged Fraud Scheme," Lauren Camrea, July 8, 2016

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