Former Corrine Brown Aide Might Change Plea

Ronnie Simmons scheduled to stand before a magistrate on Wednesday

Former Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., and her former aide Ronnie Simmons are accused of using funds from a nonprofit for personal expenses, and other charges. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo).
Former Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., and her former aide Ronnie Simmons are accused of using funds from a nonprofit for personal expenses, and other charges. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo).
Posted February 8, 2017 at 9:34am

A former aide to former Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., is expected to change his not-guilty plea in the fraud case that helped bring down his boss.

Ronnie Simmons, who served as chief of staff to Brown, is expected to face a magistrate about a new plea on Wednesday, the Florida Times Union reported. He faced the possibility of 350 years in prison if convicted of all 18 charges against him. 

Brown and Simmons face charges that they used money sent to One Door for Education, a Virginia-based nonprofit, for personal expenses.

Prosecutors said they hid income they should have reported on financial disclosure forms and that Simmons stole government money by creating a fictional job and was paid $735,000 for doing little real work.

Simmons worked for Brown since he worked for a travel agency she owned, then when she was a state legislator, and after she was elected to Congress.

After 12 terms in the House, Brown lost her primary last year to Rep. Al Lawson in the wake of the indictment and running in a redrawn district.