Crime Un-Stoppers: Times Says DAs Flubbed Mortgage Scams

New York City prosecutors remained asleep at the switch while mortgage rip-off artists took huge bites out of the Big Apple, reports The Times's Michael Powell this morning in a great top-of-the fold read.

Almost a decade after HUD declared the city a foreclosure fraud "hot zone" and schemesters began running riot in low-income home owner neighborhoods, local prosecutors are only now showing interest in chasing the perps behind the scams, Powell writes.  And that's only some of them. Brooklyn DA Joe Hynes opened a special unit last month. But here's a spokesman for Staten Island DA Daniel Donovan sounding a mite bit sleepy: "Our natural inclination is that these are civil cases."

It's far more profitable -- and much safer -- to rob someone of their home than to rob a bank, reports Powell: "Bank robbers average less than $2,000 and face a 75 percent chance of being caught; a mortgage fraud ring walks away with hundreds of thousands of dollars per house, prosecutors say, and runs little risk of being caught."

Which summons up one more echo from the last Great Depression: "Some will rob you with a six-gun and some with a fountain pen," as Woody Guthrie said of the bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd. "But you won't never see an outlaw drive a family from their home."


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