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Mayor Indicted in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

A mayor in the Miami area has been suspended by Florida Gov. Rick Scott following a federal indictment alleging mortgage fraud.

According to a report from the Miami Herald, North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau was suspended Tuesday after appearing in court to face charges related to her role in an $8 million fraud scheme.

In its indictment, the government alleges that Tondreau, working with accused co-conspirator Karl Oreste, advertised for a local mortgage company on her weekly radio show to in an effort to recruit straw borrowers whose identities and credit were used to purchase approximately 20 properties. Officials estimate the scheme defrauded various mortgage lenders out of $8 million.

She faces charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and wire fraud affecting a financial institution.

Also named in the indictment are Okechukwu Josiah Odunna and Kelly Augustin, who also stand accused of recruiting borrowers and preparing false documents.

In remarks made to the press following the hearing, Tondreau maintained her innocence, saying she believes her community will support her.

Also speaking Tuesday was Tondreau's attorney, Ben Kuehne. "It appears that one of the individuals in this case was an advertiser on her radio program. We fail to see how that involves criminal conduct," he said, adding, "We're confident the facts will show that all she attempted to do is help her community lift themselves up."

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