The former boyfriend of Lucie Tondreau, the onetime North Miami mayor convicted of mortgage fraud, was sentenced to more than eight years in prison on Monday for his lead role in running a $11 million scam and recruiting her to round up buyers.
Karl Oreste, 57, who pleaded guilty in July to a wire-fraud conspiracy, admitted that he went on Haitian-American radio programs with Tondreau to lure listeners into their scheme against eight lenders, including major banks such as Wachovia.
According to his plea agreement, they recruited straw buyers to obtain fraudulent loans to purchase more than 20 homes during the real estate boom, then lined their own pockets with much of the proceeds.
Oreste, of Miramar, agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in the hope of gaining a more lenient sentence. He was facing up to 30 years in prison.
At Tondreau’s trial in December, prosecutors Lois Foster-Steers and Gera Peoples strategically did not call Oreste as a witness because her defense attorneys planned to portray him as a manipulator who also duped the former mayor.
Jurors convicted Tondreau, 55, of conspiracy and related wire-fraud counts. She is scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Robert Scola in March.