The heat is on suspended North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau after a former business partner pleaded guilty to running an $11 million mortgage fraud scheme with her.
Karl Oreste, 56, agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in their case against Tondreau, 54, and other defendants. During Wednesday’s plea hearing, Oreste admitted going on Haitian-American radio shows with Tondreau in an attempt to recruit listeners to participate in the scheme. The alleged fraud involved eight lenders, including Wachovia Bank.
Oreste faces up to 30 years in prison for the wire fraud conspiracy conviction but is only expected to be hit with a three-to-five-year sentence, according to the Miami Herald. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 14.
“Mayor Tondreau is surprised by this development,” said attorney Ben Kuehne, who is representing Tondreau in the case. “But she is confident that, as long as Mr. Oreste testifies to the truth, it will be evidence of her vindication.” [Miami Herald] — Eric Kalis