If you have been following the news in Jacksonville, Florida, you may have heard of the names Katrina Brown and Corrine Brown. Both are former politicians who have been convicted of fraud and sentenced to prison. But are they related? And what did they do to end up behind bars? Here is a brief overview of the facts and the controversy surrounding these two women.
Who is Katrina Brown?
Katrina Brown is a former Jacksonville City Council member who served from 2015 to 2019. She was elected as a Democrat representing District 8, which covers parts of Northwest Jacksonville and Baldwin
Katrina Brown comes from a family that owns a barbecue sauce business called KJB Specialties. In 2011, the city of Jacksonville approved a $640,000 grant for the company to create 56 jobs at a barbecue sauce plant in Northwest Jacksonville. The company also received a $2.6 million loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) for the same project
However, the project never materialized and the jobs were never created. Instead, Katrina Brown and her co-defendant, Reggie Brown (no relation), used two shell companies to siphon money from the SBA loan and the city grant. They created fake invoices and bank statements to make it appear that they were paying subcontractors for work that was never done. They then transferred the money to their personal accounts or used it for personal expenses
Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown were indicted in 2018 on 38 counts of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering. They were found guilty by a jury in 2019 and sentenced to 33 months and 18 months in prison, respectively. They were also ordered to pay back more than $650,000 to the SBA and the city of Jacksonville
Who is Corrine Brown?
Corrine Brown is a former U.S. Representative who served from 1993 to 2017. She was elected as a Democrat representing Florida’s 3rd congressional district, which initially covered parts of Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando, Ocala, and Lake City. The district was later redrawn several times due to legal challenges and redistricting.
Corrine Brown was one of the first African-American women elected to Congress from Florida since Reconstruction. She was known for her outspokenness and her advocacy for minority issues, veterans, education, transportation, and health care. She was also a member of several influential committees, such as Appropriations, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Veterans’ Affairs.
However, Corrine Brown’s political career came to an end when she was involved in a charity scam. She and her chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, used a fraudulent nonprofit organization called One Door for Education to solicit donations from wealthy individuals and corporations. They claimed that the money would go to scholarships for poor students, but instead they used it for their personal benefit. They spent the money on lavish trips, parties, shopping sprees, car repairs, and other expenses.
Corrine Brown and Simmons were indicted in 2016 on 24 counts of fraud, conspiracy, tax evasion, and obstruction of justice. Simmons pleaded guilty and testified against Corrine Brown at her trial. She was found guilty by a jury in 2017 and sentenced to five years in prison. She was also ordered to pay back more than $600,000 to One Door for Education and more than $60,000 to the IRS.
Are Katrina Brown and Corrine Brown Related?
The answer is no. Katrina Brown and Corrine Brown are not related by blood or marriage. They share a common last name but have no familial connection.
However, they do have some political ties. Katrina Brown supported Corrine Brown’s reelection campaign in 2016, even after she was indicted on fraud charges. She also donated $2,700 to Corrine Brown’s campaign committee in 2015.
Additionally, both women have appealed their convictions and sentences. They have claimed that they were victims of racial discrimination and political persecution by the federal government. They have also argued that there were errors in the jury selection process and the evidence presented at their trials.
However, their appeals have not been successful so far. Katrina Brown’s appeal was denied by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2020. Corrine Brown’s appeal was initially granted by the same court in 2020 but later overturned by an en banc panel of judges in 2021. Both women are currently serving their prison terms at Coleman Federal Correctional Institution in Sumter County, Florida.
Katrina Brown and Corrine Brown are two former politicians from Jacksonville who have been convicted of fraud and sentenced to prison. They are not related by blood or marriage but have some political ties. They have both appealed their convictions and sentences but have not been successful so far. They are currently serving their prison terms at Coleman Federal Correctional Institution in Sumter County, Florida.