Former Washington, D.C. council head sentenced for bank fraud

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 13, 2012 1:20 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The former No. 2 official in the Washington city government was sentenced to home arrest, probation and community service on Tuesday on a bank fraud charge, the latest stage in financial scandals involving local officials in the U.S. capital.

Kwame Brown, 42, a Democrat who had been the City Council chairman, pleaded guilty in June to a federal charge of overstating his income in applying for bank loans in 2005 and 2007.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ordered him to undergo a day of confinement as he faced sentencing and six months of house arrest followed by two years of probation. Brown also was ordered to do 480 hours of community service.

"I'm here today because of my own poor conduct. I'm not a victim," Brown said in a brief statement before sentencing.

He also was sentenced in District of Columbia Superior Court on a misdemeanor campaign finance charge. Brown had pleaded guilty in June to letting a family member make illegal cash expenditures from his 2008 campaign account.

Brown was given a 30-day jail sentence but it was suspended on condition he complete two years of probation to run concurrent with the bank fraud sentence. He also was ordered to do 100 hours of community service concurrent with the federal sentence.

Brown was the second City Council member to step down this year over a financial scandal. Harry Thomas pleaded guilty to stealing city funds and was sentenced to prison in May.

As part of an ongoing federal probe, two workers in Mayor Vincent Gray's 2010 election campaign have pleaded guilty to paying a minor mayoral candidate to disparage incumbent Adrian Fenty in the Democratic primary.

A former Gray consultant also pleaded guilty in July for her role in helping to hide about $650,000 in undisclosed campaign funds from a city contractor.

A rising star in local politics dominated by Democrats, Brown was elected to the City Council in 2004. He served as its chairman from November 2010 until resigning in June.

District of Columbia voters approved charter amendments in last week's election that would make a council member or mayor convicted of a felony while in office ineligible to stay in office or hold the post in the future.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Andrew Hay and Eric Walsh)