Jury: So-Called “Sweetheart Swindler” Guilty Of Fraud, Grand Theft
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South Florida Crime
MIAMI (CBS4) – A Broward County jury found the so-called “Sweetheart Swindler” guilty of wooing two women, only to steal their money.
The verdict against Paul Francois was handed down just after 6 p.m. Thursday. He was found guilty of two counts of grand theft and one count of organized fraud. Francois will be sentenced on March 1st. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
Rose Marie Anglade and Sheila Brissault say Francois two-timed both of them while swindling each of them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Anglade said she’s been looking forward to this day for 5 years.
“He hurt me for 5 years,” Anglade said. “(I’ve) been living in hell for 5 years. I’m suffering. I can’t even eat. My daughter have to go to school then support me with her part-time job.”
Both women testified during the three day trial. Francois did not take the stand in his defense.
During the trial, prosecutors say he romanced Anglade and Brissault to drain their bank accounts.
“I trusted him and he’s nothing but a big, big, big liar,” said Anglade.
In tearful testimony, Anglade described for the jury how Francois convinced her to see her home in New York and buy a house in Miramar to be with him.
The divorced mother says the house is in foreclosure after Francois stole $280,000, her life savings, from her. Anglade said she is in the home but could lose it at any time.
“The judge lets me stay there. I don’t know for how long,” said Anglade.
While romancing Anglade, prosecutors say smooth talking Francois was two timing her with Sheila Brissault. Brissault took out a one hundred thousand dollar loan and gave the cash to Francois.
While he may have been a bad boyfriend, Francois claimed he truly cared about the women. Plus, his attorneys argued that the women willingly opened joint bank accounts with him.
Defense attorney Alex Hunt said this case did not belong in civil court.
“From the start we believed this was a civil case,” Hunt said. “We’re actually disappointed with the verdict.”
Now the case will head to civil court, where Anglade is suing Francois to recover her money.
However, tonight Anglade said she is due some well-earned rest.
“I never sleep for 5 years,” said Anglade. “I am going to sleep tonight and I hope he don’t sleep tonight.”