Less than two years ago, Lucie Tondreau was elected as North Miami's first female Hatiian-American mayor. This morning she was sentenced to 65 months behind bars for her role in a real estate fraud scheme.
Tondreau was suspended from office this past May by Gov. Rick Scott after she was arrested on multiple conspiracy and fraud charges. Though the crimes took place before Tondreau entered office, she had at the time already established herself as an activist and community leader. Along with three partners, Tondreau used her notoriety to attract straw buyers. The victims supplied their personal information to be used on home loan applications in exchange for a fee.
Between 2005 and 2008, Tondreau and her three partners, including her former fiancé Karl Oreste, obtained more than $11 million in faulty home loans, but the subsequent real estate deals went belly up, as did much of the real estate market here in 2008. The victims were then left in financial and credit ruin.
Back in December Tondreau was found guilty of all charges. She could have faced up to 30 years in prison but got off with just 65 months. Oreste, who plead guilty and agreed to testify against Tondreau, had earlier received an eight-year sentence. The two other partners remain fugitives.
Tondreau was originally sentenced to nine years, but the judge immediately reduced it to five years and five months.
Tondreau, a former radio host, took office after the rocky reign of Mayor Andre Pierre. Though his time in office was plagued with all sorts of corruption charges, he never was actually charged with any wrongdoing. Tondreau was supposed to bring stability and leadership back to North Miami, but obviously that did not work out to well. She has since been replaced as mayor by Smith Joseph in a special election last year.
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