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North Miami To Hold Special Election For Mayor’s Office

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NORTH MIAMI (CBSMiami) – North Miami leaders voted Tuesday night to hold a special election to find a mayor to replace suspended mayor Lucie Tondreau.

The election will be held on August 26, 2014 with a run-off election November 4, 2014.

While the charter for the city requires an election within 60-days of the suspension. However, the date is not feasible for Miami-Dade County, said city officials. Therefore, the election will be held in August.

Tondreau was suspended after being indicted as part of a mortgage fraud investigation.

Vice Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime was appointed acting mayor after Gov. Rick Scott formally suspended Tondreau from public office.

Tondreau, who is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, was ordered to surrender her passport.

She is out of jail on bond.

Tondreau, along with Karl Oreste of Miramar, Okechukwu Josiah Odunna of Lauderdale Lakes and Kelly Augustin of North Miami are accused of fraudulently obtaining loans on 20 South Florida properties between 2005 and 2008.

According to the indictment Oreste, president of KMC Mortgage Corporation of Florida, found residential properties for sale in South Florida and then he and Tondreau hosted several radio showsin which they advertised the services offered by KMC Mortgage.

Federal prosecutors claim Oreste and Tondreau recruited and paid some of the listeners who answered those ads to pose as potential buyers of the properties.  Augustin, an employee of KMC Mortgage, also recruited straw borrowers.

The indictment alleges that Oreste and Odunna prepared loan applications on behalf of the straw borrowers. Odunna was president of O.J. Odunna, P.A. and Direct Title and Escrow Services.

These loan applications included false information relating to employment, wages, assets, according to the indictment. The loan applications were then submitted to various mortgage lenders.

Once the loan applications were approved, the lenders wired loan funds to O.J. Odunna, P.A., Direct Title for closing.

At closing, a portion of loan proceeds were disbursed to Oreste through his corporation, JR Investment and Mortgage Corporation, or other bank accounts controlled by him.

In some instances, a portion of the loan proceeds was diverted to accounts controlled by Odunna.

Investigators claim Oreste also used part of the loan proceeds to pay recruiters – such as Tondreau and Augustin – and the straw borrowers. Oreste also transferred a substantial portion of the funds to bank accounts of LTO Investment Corporation, a corporation controlled by Tondreau, according to the indictment.

Tondreau allegedly used those funds to make payments on the fraudulently obtained mortgages in order to maintain the loans, and to conceal the fraud. She also used a portion of the funds for her own personal use and benefit.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum term of 30 years in prison.

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