SAO PAULO: A Brazilian mayor, who is quite known in the country to run her town via WhatsApp messages, has been imprisoned for 14 years for looting public wealth
Lidiane Leite went on the run in August 2015 when she was accused of taking the money from the town of Bom Jardim in Brazil’s north-west.
The 27-year-old directed local officials using WhatsApp while she lived a life of luxury in Sao Luiz, the state capital of Maranhão, around 180 miles away.
She eventually gave herself up after 39 days on the run.
Following a two-and-a-half year legal battle, Leite was sentenced to 14 years and one month in prison followed by six years of house arrest after she was found guilty of taking R$20m (£4.5m) from an education fund.
She is still able to appeal the decision, the TNH1 news channel reported.
The saga began in 2012 after her former boyfriend, Humberto Dantas dos Santos, who was also known as Beto Rocha, was banned from serving as mayor of the town in 2012 due to corruption allegations.
Shortly afterwards, Leite ran in his place and appointed the 44-year-old as her chief advisor. He was responsible for most of the town’s day-to-day management.
Meanwhile Leite lived a lifestyle full of expensive champagne and fast cars in Sao Luiz as she communicated with her deputies via a special “Task Force” WhatsApp group.
Many families rely on the local school to give their children at least one decent meal a day. Locals told the BBC that during Leite’s tenure they never had food at the school which first prompted the investigation into the mayor and her associates.
The authorities began to look at Leite’s social media feeds where she repeatedly bragged about her glamorous life of luxury.