Saturday, July 13, 2024

Ex-congressional candidate guilty of defrauding federal food program for the poor

Shaun Brown (WYDaily/Courtesy Shaun Brown for Congress)
Shaun Brown (WYDaily/Courtesy Shaun Brown for Congress)

A former congressional candidate for Virginia’s 2nd District defrauded a federal food service program that feeds low-income children.

Shaun Brown, 59, of Hampton, was convicted Tuesday in federal court for her role in the fraud conspiracy, which resulted in more than $800,000 in federal funds inappropriately being paid to a nonprofit she ran, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Brown is scheduled for sentencing March 13 on charges of conspiracy, theft of government funds and two counts of wire fraud, according to the news release.

She faces up to 20 years in prison.

Brown has also been embroiled at the center of an investigation into forged and false signatures gathered by Rep. Scott Taylor’s staffers on a petition for Brown’s bid to get on the ballot.

Brown ran against Taylor for the House of Representatives 2nd Congressional District in 2016.

She was indicted on fraud charges in connection with the food service program in December 2017.

Brown worked with her mother for JOBS Community Outreach Development Corporation, a nonprofit registered in Virginia. In 2011 and 2012, JOBS sponsored a program aimed at feeding food-insecure children after free and reduced lunch programs ended for summer vacation.

The program was funded by United States Department of Agriculture.

In 2012, Brown inflated the number of meals JOBS had served to low-income children, submitting four fraudulent claims for reimbursement from the USDA, according to the DOJ.

To support the inflated numbers, Brown falsified “hundreds” of documents.

Brown also ordered “excessive” amounts of food and milk, “which she was well aware would never be used to feed needy children,” according to the news release.

The food was disposed of in piles behind buildings in Newport News and at a pig farm in southern Virginia.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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