North Miami vice mayor takes over after mayor's suspension
Lucie Tondreau free on bond after arrest in $8 million mortgage fraud scheme
NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – North Miami Vice Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime will serve as acting mayor after Lucie Tondreau was suspended Tuesday by Gov. Rick Scott.
The governor suspended Tondreau shortly after she was released from jail on $50,000 bond.
An indictment unsealed Monday charges Tondreau and three others with wire fraud conspiracy.
Federal prosecutors claim Tondreau and another defendant used a radio show to recruit straw buyers who were used to defraud lenders in buying 20 properties.
The alleged crimes took place before Tondreau became mayor last June.
Bien-Aime wouldn't comment about Tondreau's arrest during a news conference Wednesday morning.
"It's not up to me or any citizen to conclude or not whether someone is innocent or should be convicted of any crime," he said.
Tondreau proclaimed her innocence to Local 10 and said she cut her business trip in Las Vegas short to return to South Florida and clear her name. She is the first Haitian-American woman to be elected mayor of North Miami.
A federal judge ordered that Tondreau must surrender all passports, stay in South Florida and adhere to an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. She is also forbidden from engaging in any employment involving mortgages.
The city will have to hold a special election to fill Tondreau's seat. In the meantime, North Miami leaders said city business will continue as usual.
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