Friday, June 9, 2023

Ex-congressional candidate says she’ll run again from prison

Shaun Brown (Courtesy of Shaun Brown for Congress)
Shaun Brown (Courtesy of Shaun Brown for Congress)

A former congressional candidate for Virginia’s 2nd District, who was convicted of defrauding a federal food service program that feeds low-income children, says she running for Congress again even though she’ll be in federal prison.

Shaun Brown revealed her plans to reporters Wednesday before turning herself into authorities outside a federal courthouse in Norfolk.

The 60-year-old was sentenced last week to three years in prison for defrauding the federal government through a summer meal program for children. She continues to say she’s innocent.

Brown was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Virginia’s 2nd District on the state’s coast in 2016.

She tried again in 2018 as a third-party candidate. But a judge removed her from the race after finding that Republican campaign staffers forged signatures to place her on the ballot as a spoiler candidate.

The 2nd district includes Accomack and Northampton counties, portions of York County, and the cities of Virginia Beach and Williamsburg and parts of the cities of Norfolk and Hampton.

Brown said she plans to run in Virginia’s nearby 3rd Congressional District.

Brown was sentenced earlier this month to three years in prison and one year of home detention for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and causing false records, wire fraud, and theft of government funds.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Brown defrauded the USDA’s summer food service program aimed at feeding low income children.

Federal prosecutors said Brown and her mother ran a non-profit company, JOBS Community Development Corporation, which served as a sponsor for the SFSP.

Over the course of the 2012 Summer, Brown inflated the number of meals JOBS purportedly served to low-income children and submitted fraudulent claims for reimbursement based on the inflated numbers.

Prosecutors said Brown also orchestrated a massive scheme to falsify hundreds of documents to support her fraudulently inflated meal count numbers and ordered excessive amounts of food and milk products which she was well aware would never be used to feed needy children. At her direction, Brown’s employees disposed of this food and milk, purchased with federal funds, in large mounds behind buildings in Newport News, as well as a pig farm in Southern Virginia. As a result of her fraudulent actions, the USDA paid JOBS over $800,000 in federal funds.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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