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Fraud charges for Florida congresswoman

A Florida congresswoman was indicted for fraud in early July 2016. According to allegations, Rep. Corrine Brown and her chief of staff used the $800,000 they collected in donations for an educational charity known as One Door for Education Foundation Inc. as a slush fund. The money was supposed to go toward school computer drives, scholarships and other education initiatives.

The indictment covers 24 counts including filing false tax returns, theft of government property, concealing facts on required financial disclosure forms, mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. One Door's president was also allegedly involved in the scheme, and according to reports, only two scholarships were awarded with a total worth of $1,200. The money instead went to NFL tickets, conference receptions and other items.

According to the indictment, the money was collected from 2012 to 2016. The FBI agent in charge of the Jacksonville Division said that corruption among public officials severely damages public trust.

People who are being questioned in connection with a white-collar crime investigation might want to consult an attorney whether or not they may be facing charges themselves. If they are charged, they might want to consider what outcome they are hoping for in their defense. For example, some people might be more concerned with clearing their name while others may want to focus primarily on reducing penalties. A person might be offered a deal that includes these reduced penalties, or the defendant may prefer to plead innocent and go to court. If an attorney suspects that a person's rights have been violated in the course of the investigation, some of the evidence could be dismissed, or the case might be dropped altogether.

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

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