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On Valentine’s Day, an un-valentine-like trial resumed in downtown Fort Lauderdale, pitting a woman against her former fiancé.
Rose Marie Anglade says she was courted by Broward resident Paul Francois back in 2007. The two met while Anglade was visiting South Florida from New York.
Their love apparently blossomed and the two became engaged, with Anglade selling her New York home, netting a profit of $280,000, before she moved into a Miramar house with Francois and set up a joint bank account. Anglade’s $280,000 was supposed to help pay for the Miramar house, but prosecutors say that in a matter of two months, the money was gone, stolen by Francois.
There was no love lost between the two when they came face to face in criminal court on Tuesday, with Francois facing two counts of grand theft and one count of organized fraud.
“You see how he’s sitting there like nothing,” Anglade described Francois sitting in the courtroom. “So if they let him go, and they don’t put him somewhere, he will do that over and over again.”
Anglade testified how she answered a call one day from a woman who claimed to be Francois’ fiancée. Anglade quipped back that she was Francois’ fiancée. Things went downhill from there.
Prosecutors say Francois stole about $400,000 from both women – at first committing to marry them, then allegedly ripping them off. He was arrested in 2009.
“Before he stole your money, he was like a little angel,” Anglade said. “He put himself on his knees to beg you for anything. When he finished stealing your money, he would have horns and a tail, he’s like a little big monster.”
Francois’ attorney, Frank Negron, told NBC Miami there was no theft. He insists the couple had a joint bank account and were building a life together. Negron said both Anglade and Francois wrote checks from that account.
Anglade is also suing Francois in civil court, wanting her $280,000 back.
Sheila Brisault, the second woman who prosecutors say was Francois’ fiancée, is expected to testify Wednesday.