MIAMI — North Miami’s first female Haitian-American mayor has been suspended from her post. Shortly after Lucie Tondreau appeared in federal court Tuesday on charges related to an $8 million mortgage fraud scheme, Florida Gov. Rick Scott suspended her.
Tondreau, 54, surrendered to federal agents after the charges were filed. She had been at a Las Vegas convention on city business when an indictment charging her was unsealed Monday. She was granted a $50,000 bond on Tuesday, and is out on bail.
Tondreau was elected North Miami’s first female Haitian-American mayor last June. Her picture was missing from the homepage of North Miami’s website on Wednesday.
Prosecutors say she and three others conspired before she became mayor to defraud lenders using straw buyers to obtain inflated loans to buy 20 properties. The scheme allegedly involved the use of Tondreau’s radio program to recruit buyers. Charged along with Tondreau are Karl Oreste, 56, of Miramar, and two other defendants, Okechukwu Josiah Odunna, 49, a disbarred Lauderdale Lakes lawyer, and Kelly Augustin, 57, a former North Miami recruiter for Oreste’s mortgage firm, the Miami Herald reports.
Tondreau’s attorney says she is innocent. The four defendants are charged with conspiracy and wire fraud, which carry a combined maximum 30-year prison sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.