A federal judge in the District on Tuesday sentenced the brother of disgraced former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown to three months in prison and five years of supervised release for bank fraud.
Che Brown pleaded guilty in December to a single count of bank fraud for inflating his income by $35,000 when he applied for a loan modification in 2009.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson cited Che Brown's 1995 conviction for bank fraud as one reason for calling for time in prison this time around. He served probation, not prison time, for that crime.
In this case, Brown's attorney had asked for probation instead of prison time. Prosecutors had urged the court to sentence Brown to six months behind bars.
Judge Jackson, calling the wrongdoing "much more than dumb mistakes," said that there had been an "orchestrated effort to downplay" the crime on the part of the defense.
Brown pleaded guilty to defrauding GMAC Mortgage LLC by submitting false documentation that overstated his income. That deceit saved him more than $700 a month in mortgage payments at a time when many other homeowners struggled to make mortgage payments in a depressed economy.
The defense submitted 35 letters to the court from community members testifying to Brown's character.
Jackson said she had read all of them, but that many of the letter writers understated the severity of Brown's crime and failed to note his past conviction for bank fraud.
She told Brown, a motivational speaker, that there was "no one to blame but yourself for the consequences of your decision."
Jackson also ordered Brown to serve 200 hours of community service.
Che Brown's most recent skirmish with authorities came about six months after Kwame Brown pleaded guilty to bank fraud -- he also lied about his income on a loan application -- and resigned from his post as the District's No. 2 official. He was sentenced in November to a single day in custody and six months of house arrest.
Federal authorities began investigating the Brown brothers after an audit of Kwame Brown's 2008 campaign by D.C. officials uncovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in suspicious transactions, including $239,000 that was directed to Che Brown's consulting firm.
Kwame Brown also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges for campaign finance violations, relating to a $60,000 side account created by Che Brown, a contractor for the campaign. Jackson said she did not consider Che Brown's ties to that campaign finance investigation relevant to her sentencing in the bank fraud case.