WSVN — Carmel Cafiero: “Good morning. Veronica Smith?”
It was last February when we caught up with Veronica Smith outside her South Miami office. We were there to ask questions about her dealings with this couple, Damont Ellis and Dekelia Sumpter.
Dekelia Sumpter: “Well, we gave her $7,000. It was supposed to be a down payment for this particular house.”
Carmel Cafiero: “And did you get the house?”
Dekelia Sumpter: “No, ma'am.”
The couple never got the house and never got their money back. They say they had no idea that in the past, Veronica Smith did time for fraud and grand theft. They also did not know she is not a licensed real estate agent.
Carmel Cafiero: “She clearly told you that she was a realtor?”
Dekelia Sumpter/Damont Ellis. “Yes.”
Carmel Cafiero: “For sure?”
Damont Ellis: “Her and her husband.”
Smith denied any wrongdoing, telling me the couple's contract on the house expired, but gave no more explanation. She did admit she was not a realtor.
Carmel Cafiero: “So how can you have a contract with them to sell a property?”
Veronica Smith: “I didn't have a contract with them, sweetie. The seller contracted with them.”
Within months, Smith was arrested and charged in connection with the couple's case and others. In all she was hit with 10 felonies involving more than $50,000. The charges include exploitation of an elderly person, organized fraud and grand theft.
Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens: “On the Veronica Smith, we're here for what, the bond review?”
Smith had been out on bond, but the Statewide Prosecutor's Office brought her back to court. Not only was she charged with a new count of money laundering, the prosecutor claimed Smith lied about having breast cancer in order to delay her trial last October.
Stephen ImMasche: “Your Honor has seen the certificate of authenticity in the motion and also the indices that the second page, which indicated the surgery and chemotherapy was fraudulent and a fraud upon the court.”
Smith's attorney argued there was no fraud relating to her health and provided a letter from a doctor.
Robert Barrar: Indicating she was referred to have a breast ultrasound and was referred to a breast surgeon, which is exactly what she did.”
The prosecutor wanted Smith taken into custody and her bond revoked.
Stephen ImMasche: “And when the rubber met the road, when trial was set, this defendant committed a fraud in order to avoid trial. And that's what the state is basing its supposition that this defendant is a flight risk.”
Robert Barrar: “If she was a flight risk, knowing this hearing was coming today and knowing that the state was filing an additional charge of money laundering, if she was a flight risk she would have already skipped out.”
The judge did not rule on the fraud issue, but did up Smith's bond by $250,000.
Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens: “In addition, if she does bond out, it will be with a GPS monitor, total lockdown except for doctor's appointments.”
And with that, Veronica Smith gave up her jewelry, was handcuffed and taken to jail. Carmel Cafiero, 7News.
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