North Miami mayor charged in $8 million mortgage fraud scheme

3 others also charged with wire fraud conspiracy

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. - North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau was charged Monday with using a radio show as a recruitment tool in an $8 million mortgage fraud scheme.

Federal agents did not find her at home Monday morning, The Miami Herald reports, and a city spokeswoman said Tondreau is at a Las Vegas convention on city business. Tondreau also posted a photo of herself on Facebook with a caption saying she was "shopping for the city."

An indictment unsealed Monday charges Tondreau and three others with wire fraud conspiracy.

The alleged crimes took place before Tondreau became mayor. Prosecutors say Tondreau and another defendant used the radio show to recruit straw buyers, who were used to defraud lenders in buying 20 properties.

Local 10 News reporter Neki Mohan was in Miami federal court as some of the defendants in the case made their first appearances Monday afternoon.

This isn't the mayor's first scandal. Last November, Tondreau's public relations firm in North Miami was raided by police as part of an investigation into absentee ballot fraud.

The  mother of three was voted into office in June, defeating Kevin Burns with nearly 60 percent of the votes. During the election, a rival released a recording of her responding to insults to a local blogger.

Tondreau, who was a host in Haitian radio in Miami, was born in  La Vallée De Jacmel, Sud-Est, Haiti, and grew up in Canada. She lived in New York before moving to Miami in 1984, a city bio said.

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