Former Delray Beach city commish sentenced to seven years in prison for real estate fraud

Durante got investors to fund what she falsely described as bridge loans for homeowners
June 14, 2013 03:00PM

Charlotte Durante

A Palm Beach County judge sentenced former Delray Beach City Commissioner Charlotte Durante to seven years in prison for first-degree felony charges of fraud and money laundering, the Sun Sentinel reported.

The sentence was significantly softer than the 20-year minimum state guidelines for such charges, but Circuit Judge Charles Burton said he couldn’t bring himself to impose such a stiff sentence on Durante after hearing of her brain tumor.

“I’m not prepared to sentence Charlotte Durante to death in this case,” Burton said.

Assistant State Attorney Ryan Kelley said that between between 2006 and 2008, Durante used her credibility to convince 83 investors to give money for what she falsely described as bridge loans to be used by her real estate clients looking to purchase homes.

Durante’s $1.8 million scheme got mostly Haitian immigrant investors to shell out cash for a planned expansion of Durante’s daughter’s museum, Kelley said.

“That’s not just stealing,” Kelley told the court. “That’s betrayal.” [Sun Sentinel]  – Hiten Samtani