We have to congratulate the New York Daily News on its clever mischief journalism today: it transferred the “deed” to the Empire State Building at the city register’s office using fake documents and fanciful names like Willie Sutton and Nelots (“stolen” backwards) Properties. Their point is that some people have taken advantage of the bureaucrats’ disinclination to check credentials to get mortgages on properties they don’t own and even seize neglected properties and make money renting them. It doesn’t seem like a smart long-term crime, as all the malefactors the News names were eventually arrested and punished.
The paper is “withholding key details of how the scam works,” probably to try and incite a stupid overreaction from city officials that would really blow the story up. If Bloomberg can pursue a vendetta against Plaxico Burress, why wouldn’t the city clerk stalk the Daily News?
The news-you-can-use here, especially if you want to keep a desk job in the New Depression, is that Notary Public stamps cost about $30 and nobody seems to check whether you’re licensed.