MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A South Florida man, dubbed the “Sweetheart Swindler,” was sentenced Thursday morning to ten years in state prison for swindling two women out of more than $370,000 with promises of marriage and a prosperous life together.
Paul Francois, also ordered to pay restitution, was convicted in February of two counts of grand theft and one count of organized fraud.
Before hearing his punishment, Francois made an emotional plea for mercy. He apologized to the victims and vowed to pay them back.
One of his victims, Rose Marie Anglade said out of court she did not believe Francois’ apology.
“No that’s not true. If you really want to apologize, he would give me my money back,” said Anglade.
“He stole $283,000 dollars from me in two weeks!”
Anglade and Sheila Brissault were both two-timed by Francois who swindled each of them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Both women testified during the trial last month. Francois did not take the stand in his defense.
In court Thursday, Anglade told the judge she needed to protect other women from his financial deceit.
“Mr. Francois is heartless and a con. He should not get away with it,” Anglade told the judge.
The judge agreed and sentenced him to ten years in prison, although he could have received up to 90-years.
After the sentencing, Anglade told CBS4’s Joan Murray she wasn’t happy with the sentence.
“Ten years behind bars, I believe he should get more than that because after ten years, he’s going to be like 77 years, at 77 you’re still a young guy, he could come after me and my family after ten years,” said Anglade.
But more than a half dozen members of Francois’ family spoke in his defense arguing for mercy, saying he is a good father who suffers from heart trouble and high blood pressure.
His daughter spoke through an interpreter saying she is still in shock from the guilty verdict. “These women willingly had a joint account with my father.”
Francois will have to serve 85-percent of that sentence and any assets he has or money he makes while in state prison will go to his victims.