A con man who fleeced Rep. Charles Wilson (D-Tex.) out of $29,000 in a phony stock deal will apparently have to repay the money when he is released from prison later this year.
Smooth-talking Paul Brown arrived in Washington from Los Angeles in 1980 ostensibly to package a television soap opera to be set in the nation's capital. Brown had worked in Texas for a friend of Wilson's, and the congressman befriended Brown, who seemed well-connected to Jimmy Carter's administration and Hollywood celebrities.
Brown offered Wilson the opportunity to buy stock in a Houston-based telephone company that was about to be acquired by a larger firm. Wilson asked for and received letters from company execs confirming the offer, and he invested $29,000 through Brown. But Brown, who had faked the letters and had no access to any stock, pocketed Wilson's money. Wilson pressed charges, and Brown eventually pleaded guilty to one count of wire and mail frand. Sentenced to six months in jail, Brown was ordered to repay Wilson out of future earnings.
"I trust the pen in Big Springs (Texas) is its customary 110 degrees," snarls Wilson, "so he has some anxiety about returning to incarceration."
Wilson said he "felt stupid and embarrassed . . . my constituents may not elect me by reason of gullibility."
Not to worry on that score; Wilson is unopposed for reelection this fall.