Updated at 5:18 p.m.
The U.S. attorney's office in Washington filed a single charge of bank fraud today against District of Columbia Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D).
Brown, according to the criminal information (PDF) filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is accused of submitting falsified information that overstated his income when applying for a home equity loan.
The filing of an information means that Brown waived his right to an indictment by a federal grand jury, setting the stage for a plea agreement. The court scheduled a plea agreement hearing for Friday morning.
Brown’s attorney, Frederick Cooke Jr. of Washington’s Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke, as well as a spokeswoman for Brown, could not immediately be reached this afternoon. The U.S. attorney’s office, through spokesman William Miller, declined to comment.
Unlike the case of Brown’s former council colleague Harry Thomas Jr., who pleaded guilty in January to embezzling public funds, the charge against Brown didn’t appear to be tied to his work as a councilmember or his campaign activity. The District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics previously found that Brown’s campaign committee in 2008 violated local election laws and referred the matter to the U.S. attorney’s office. No charges have been filed regarding that issue.
According to today’s charging document, Brown allegedly submitted a “falsified employment verification document” as part of his application in 2005 to Industrial Bank, N.A. for a home equity loan. The government alleged that the document overstated Brown’s income by “tens of thousands of dollars.”
The charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail, a $1 million fine, or both, according to the U.S. Code.
Brown was first elected to the council as an at-large member in 2004. He was re-elected in 2008, and was then elected council chair in 2010.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Richard Leon.