Veldora Arthur, the disgraced Miami assistant fire chief who collected $120,000 in pay while she sat at home for seven months awaiting trial, could face a longer prison sentence if federal prosecutors have their way. On Sept. 30, a federal jury found Arthur guilty on three counts of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.
She faces a maximum 20 years in prison. In a recent report filed in Miami's federal court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Armando Rosquete explains why Arthur doesn't deserve any leniency.
The city's first African-American female firefighter and assistant fire chief, Arthur was accused of being a fake buyer for several condos in an Aventura building and falsifying mortgage documents as part of a scam to obtain $11 million in fraudulent loans. Prosecutors allege Arthur collected $317,000 for her role in the scheme.
Rosquete points out Arthur used some of the $317,000 to purchase a condominium in Tampa. She also partnered with one of her co-defendants in the sale of a property in Coral Gables in which Arthur provided the money for the buyer's closing costs. The former fire department official made a $10,000 profit on the deal.
In addition, Rosquete argues Arthur allegedly obstructed justice when she emailed a government witness this past April 14. At the time, Arthur was free on bond, which explicitly prohibited her from personally contacting anyone connected to her case.
On the fraudulent mortgage application, Arthur claimed to have a second job with a company called Gateway Associates LLC. The firm's owner, Rosalind Smith, told prosecutors that Arthur never worked for her, which established that the assistant fire chief lied on the loan paperwork. In her email to Smith, Arthur attempts to convince Gateway's principal that she is not a criminal.
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"My signature was forged on some documents and I was misled about the validity of the investment deals," Arthur wrote.
Rosquette claims the e-mail demonstrates that Arthur "has little respect for this Court's rules and views herself as someone who is above the rules of fair play, fair dealing and honesty."