JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Former Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown’s longtime chief of staff has begun a four-year federal prison sentence in Maryland.

The Florida Times-Union reports that 52-year-old Elias “Ronnie” Simmons arrived Monday as scheduled at a medium-security federal prison in Cumberland, Maryland.

Once a powerful Democrat, Brown was found guilty last year of taking money from a charity that purported to award scholarships to poor students.

Key to the government’s conviction was testimony from Simmons and the charity’s president, Carla Wiley. Both pleaded guilty after their federal indictments for misusing the charity’s funds.

Brown, 71, received a five-year prison sentence. A federal judge denied her request to remain free while she appeals the sentence.

Wiley received a one-year, nine-month sentence followed by three years of probation. Both women have been ordered to report for prison Jan. 29.


Information from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com