Kwame Brown Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud and Campaign Finance Violation
Former Council Chairman Kwame Brown resigned this week
Former DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown pleaded guilty today to a federal charge of bank fraud and a misdemeanor charge for violating DC campaign finance laws.
Brown resigned from the District of Columbia Council and agreed to cooperate as the investigation continues as part of a plea agreement, according to a press release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The bank fraud charge stems from a home equity loan Brown applied for and received under false pretenses. He over-estimated his income by tens of thousands of dollars and used the money to buy his boat "Bulletproof" among other expenses.
"The bank fraud charge carries up to 30 years in prison. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that the applicable range for this offense would be up to six months in prison and a possible fine of up to $5,000. The campaign finance charge carries a maximum of six months of incarceration and a possible fine of up to $5,000."
“While sitting on the council, Kwame Brown repeatedly falsified and forged documents to deceive the bank into giving him money, even faxing one of the fraudulent documents from his council office. Brown also gave a family member free license to make illegal and untraceable cash expenditures from his 2008 campaign in violation of D.C. law," said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. in a prepared statement.
As recently as Tuesday Brown told reporters that he was not intending to resign. The Washington City Paper reports that his resignation came after "Brown had asked prosecutors if they would allow him to serve out the rest of his term, but they said no."
In his resignation letter, obtained by the Post, Brown admitted to "indiscretions" and "mistakes in judgement." He added, "I have chosen the only honorable course in submitting my resignation at this time."
The members of the Council will vote for an acting chair and an acting chair pro tempore until a special election can be held. According to Council rules, both positions must be chosen from among the at-Large members (Phil Mendelsohn, Michael Brown, Vincent Orange and David Catania).
Brown is the second member of the council to resign this year because of federal charges. Councilman Harry Thomas, Jr. pleaded guilty to stealing more than $350,000 in District funds and was sentenced to 38 months in prison.