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Congresswoman faces charges in charity fraud

Some Illinois residents may have heard about an elected official who has been indicted for fraud in connection to collecting money for a charity. Florida Rep. Corrine Brown allegedly used donations for the charity One Door for Education Foundation Inc. as a slush fund. Reportedly, she, her chief of staff and the president of the charity used the approximately $800,000 she raised for personal expenses.

Money donated to the charity was supposed to go to causes such as scholarships and computer equipment. Instead, reports say, only two scholarships were given away with a total worth of $1,200.

In March, Brown pleaded guilty to involvement. She was indicted in July and faces charges of concealing facts on required financial disclosure forms, filing false tax returns, theft of government property, mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

People who face questioning in these types of felony cases may want to speak to an attorney. It may be a mistake to assume that since the offense is a white-collar crime that the penalties will be lenient. Furthermore, what appears to be merely information gathering might later be revealed as serious questioning. A person could be the investigation's target without realizing it. People who do find themselves charged may have several options available. For example, an attorney may look into whether or not the person's rights were violated during the investigation. If any information is obtained illegally, the evidence could be dismissed. The attorney might choose to negotiate an agreement with the prosecutor that could provide for a reduced penalty in exchange for a guilty plea to a lesser offense.

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

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