NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A former candidate for Virginia’s Second Congressional District who was convicted of fraud is now facing three years in prison.The federal prosecutor called her a public menace, the judge said she showed no remorse, and now Shaun Brown will soon head to prison.
“Had she shown remorse, she probably would have gotten a sentence between 12 and 15 months,” said defense attorney James Ellenson on Wednesday outside the Norfolk federal courthouse.
A jury found Brown, 60, guilty of overstating numbers in a summer feeding program, in order to get fraudulent reimbursement from the US Department of Agriculture.
Brown had little to say and let her attorney speak afterward.
“She never did anything criminal, she’s never done anything wrong her whole life,” Ellenson said.
At trial the government said the amount of fraud totaled nearly $500,000, but Judge Henry Morgan reduced it to $90,000 because that was all records could show. That determination reduced the maximum sentencing guideline from nine years to 57 months.
Morgan said he considered her lack of any prior criminal record in giving her 36 months.
Brown told the judge that her attorney sold her out, but she appeared by his side afterward.
“Shaun and I have had differences in trial strategies since day one,” Ellenson said. “So it’s OK.”
Brown attended the Ivy League school Brown University, the London School of Economics, and Oxford University. Norfolk pastor Nathan Butler worked with Brown on the program to feed underprivileged kids, and spoke on her behalf.
“There’s a whole bunch of other things you can do with her level of intelligence to be criminal. Maybe she made some mistakes.”
Brown takes care of her ailing mother in Hampton. The judge gave her a week before she has to report to prison.
“(I’ll be) making sure everything is in place for my mother.”
In addition to three years active prison time, Morgan ordered a year of house arrest, three years of probation and $90,000 in restitution.
Despite the conviction and sentence, Brown maintains she is 100 percent innocent. She plans to appeal.
Brown had her name removed from the ballot for the second district last September. The ruling came after the Democrats filed a lawsuit accusing Scott Taylor’s campaign staff of forging signatures to help get her on the ballot.