NORFOLK, Va. — A former congressional candidate convicted of defrauding the federal government reported to prison to serve a three-year sentence.
Before turning herself in on Wednesday, 59-year-old Shaun Brown took the opportunity to announce she would again run for Congress in the 2020 election, this time in Virginia's 3rd District.
The 3rd District is currently represented by Democrat Bobby Scott.
"You have to continue to fight, you just can't just stop now," said Brown.
Last October, a Newport News jury convicted Brown of conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, and one count theft of government property.
Federal prosecutors said Brown asked for reimbursement for thousands of meals that were never served through a summer meal program for children. Defense attorney James Ellenson said she didn't "steal any money for her own personal gain."
At Brown's sentencing, Judge Henry Morgan said Brown showed no remorse for her actions. Upon her release, Brown will also serve an additional year of home confinement.
In a final speech to the court, Brown blamed the USDA, former employees, and even blasted her own attorney for “turning on her.”
Brown ran for Congress in 2016 as a Democrat in the 2nd District against Republican Rep. Scott Taylor, who was unseated by Democrat Elaine Luria last year. A judge found evidence that Taylor's campaign staff forged signatures to put Brown on the 2018 ballot as an independent.
When 13News Now asked why she plans on running again in 2020, Brown said, "So many people are counting on people to stand up in this community. I see firsthand those who have fought with me for on a whole number of issues. From dealing with the homeless to you know economic development is a critical piece of what we’re all talking about. I can’t go away and just sit in a corner and say, 'Oh well, I did my best.' No. My best is yet to come."
Brown said she wants to prioritize criminal justice reform and bring more jobs to the area, and that she has many supporters who will help her campaign while she is behind bars. She pointed out she will not be able to vote for herself as a convicted felon.
Brown said she filed a notice of appeal for her conviction.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.