A Democratic mayor who appeared alongside U.S. Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius earlier this year to promote Obamacare has been charged with wire fraud in connection with an $8 million mortgage scheme.
Lucie Tondreau, who has been marred by scandal since she was elected mayor of North Miami last year, will be charged in the conspiracy alongside three other suspects.
According to the indictment, between 2005 and 2008, Tondreau conspired with the president of a South Florida mortgage company to recruit straw borrowers to obtain mortgages.
Tondreau and the mortgage company president aired advertisements on a radio show that they hosted to help prop up the scheme, the indictment alleges. The duo “recruited and paid some of the listeners who responded to those advertisements, as well as other individuals, to pose as borrowers to purchase properties”.
The indictment also alleges that the co-conspirators fabricated HUD-1 Settlement forms which misrepresented that straw borrowers had made down payments and closing payments on homes.
The fraudulent loans were made for 20 properties.
In February, Tondreau, North Miami’s first Haitian-American mayor, helped the Obama administration and HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius promote Obamacare. Both spoke at a National Youth Enrollment Day event to increase awareness of Obamacare among young people six weeks before the March 31 sign-up deadline.
Even before Monday’s indictment and February’s appearance with Sebelius, Tondreau was the center of another fraud probe.
Last year, Florida state prosecutors linked requests for 60 absentee ballots to an Internet address from Tondreau’s office. Tondreau denied any wrongdoing in that case. Tondreau’s campaign treasurer was discovered with the pile of absentee ballots in his vehicle. Florida law allows only individual voters or family members of voters to request absentee ballots.
Tondreau defeated then-mayor Kevin Burns with nearly 60 percent of the vote last June.
Tondreau’s pending arrest marks another in a flurry of recent fraud cases against local and state Democratic politicians.
Patrick Cannon, the mayor of Charlotte, N.C., was recently arrested for taking bribes from undercover FBI agents. California state Sen. Leland Yee was arrested in March for wire fraud and conspiracy to deal illegal firearms.