Trending Topics

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown Charged With Bank Fraud

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown was charged Wednesday with a single count of bank fraud.

Federal prosecutors charged Brown, 41, in a criminal information, a type of court filing that indicates a plea deal is imminent.

“Brown knowingly and willingly devised a scheme and artifice to defraud Industrial Bank,” prosecutors wrote in the filing. “Brown provided to Industrial Bank, N.A., falsified documents that overstated… Brown’s income by tens of thousands of dollars.”

A court date was not immediately scheduled, but U.S. District Judge Richard Leon will handle Brown’s case.

Bill Miller, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, declined to comment.

Brown called Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh, the council’s president pro tempore, to his office. Cheh arrived for the meeting shortly after 2 p.m.

The full council went into a closed-door meeting about an hour later.
Councilman Tommy Wells, Ward 6, said afterward that they spoke with Brown and his attorney. He described the chairman as “very businesslike and with a very heavy heart,” and described the conversation as “very frank and honest.”

When asked whether Brown would be resigning, Wells said “there will be some changes…. It’s a courtesy to the chair to let him speak for himself.”

Before he met with the rest of the council, Brown was huddled with aides behind locked doors at the John A. Wilson Building, and aides did not respond to requests for comment. Journalists saw some aides hugging each other through the frosted windows of Brown’s office suite.

Brown’s prosecution will rattle the District’s political landscape, which has already been rocked this year by the resignation of one lawmaker and criminal charges against two campaign aides to Mayor Vincent Gray.

As recently as Tuesday, Brown denied that he would resign.

“I have no plans to resign,” Brown told reporters after a council session. “That’s all I’m going to say about that.”

The Brown family’s troubled personal finances have long been scrutinized, even though Brown makes $190,000 annually as council chairman.

Brown and his wife have faced several lawsuits relating to unpaid credit bills, all but one of which they settled, and Brown once told The Washington Post that his personal debt was more than $700,000.


Back to top