Lucie Tondreau's political rise and fall was swift. She was elected to office as North Miami's first female mayor in May 2013. Then she was arrested and suspended from office less than a year later, and now she's been found guilty on all charges.
After just two hours of deliberation, the 12-person jury found Tondreau guilty on multiple conspiracy and fraud charges. She now faces up to 30 years behind bars, and will be sentenced next March.
The crimes Tondreau was found guilty of took place before she took office. However Tondreau was already well known in North Miami's Haitian community through her political activist work and radio show. She used her notability to attract "straw buyers," who allowed Tondreau to use their names to take out home loans in exchange for a fee. Much of the other information provided to banks on behalf of the straw buyers was fraudulent.
Between 2005 and 2008 Tondreau and thee partners, including her former fiancee Karl Oreste, conspired to scam banks out of up to $11 million in faulty loans. But when many of those real estate deal went belly up, Tondreau's victims were left in financial and credit ruin.
Oreste had previously pleaded guilty, but was not called to testify against Tondreau.
Tondreau was suspended from office in March by Governor Rick Scott, and was replaced in a special election this fall by Smith Joseph.
Tondreau is the second local mayor to be found guilty this year. Former Homestead mayor Steve Bateman was found guilty of corruption charges in September.
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