Brazil: Mayor Who Directed Town Through Messaging Service Is Jailed

A Brazilian Mayor who directed her town through a messaging service has been jailed for at least 14 years for pocketing funds. Lidiane Leite’s luxurious lifestyle came to an end when she was accused of pocketing money from the town of Bom Jardim back in 2015. She went on the run but decided to turn herself in after nearly two months.

The mayor also decided to live in a different area during all of this. She was living almost 200 miles away in the state of Maranhao. From there, she would direct local officials through WhatsApp. She turned herself in after being on the run for close to 40 days and a legal battle began. Authorities issued an arrest warrant when Leite and her boyfriend, who was her main political adviser, went on the run.

Just a few hours ago, she was sentenced to 14 years and one month in prison. She was also given six years of house arrest. Local media reports that she can still appeal the decision. Leite was found guilty of taking over $6 million from local schools.

It all began five years ago, when her former boyfriend was banned from serving as mayor of the town. He was banned over corruption allegations but was back as one of the town’s officials when Leite ran in his place and won.

Her win was bad news for the town as she began living a life of luxury somewhere else. She would direct the town and communicate with officials through a WhatsApp group. In early 2015, they broke up and things quickly went bad for the two. Her boyfriend resigned and everyone began finding out about the corruption.

The worst part about Leite’s time as mayor is that she was pocketing the money from local schools. The town she was in charge of is said to be one of the poorest in the country and local schools quickly saw the effects of her life of luxury. Residents told the BBC that schools in the area did not have food during her time as mayor.

Leite would also spend a lot of her time bragging about her life on social media. Authorities had launched an investigation over the lack of food in schools and noticed that. In 2015, they issued an arrest warrant for the two but only Leite turned herself in. Her former boyfriend, who is still on the run, was sentenced to nearly 18 years in prison and seven years and four months of house arrest.