Another month, another appalling white-collar crime. This time the Manhattan DA announced a massive mortgage fraud indictment that appears to have saddled low-income New Yorkers with mortgages they can't afford, and could ultimately show losses of more than $100 million.
The accused swindlers, including lawyers, real estate agents, appraisers and bank workers, allegedly tricking lenders into issuing loans for homes whose values were artificially inflated -- so that lawyers could receive money off the top, lenders would lose money, and low-income buyers were stuck with mortgages they could not afford.
The lesson from this, as if we needed reminding, was that it is simply vital that we maintain a beefed-up focus on white collar crime. As a candidate for Manhattan DA, I can tell you that while others have advocated reducing the office's focus on white collar crime, I consider it vital that the office continue a strong approach to investigating and prosecuting such crimes that can result in New Yorkers losing their homes and savings.
Crimes like these that victimize New Yorkers in the pocketbook, may not induce physical harm but - make no mistake - they inflict real damage to people's lives and need to be investigated, pursued, and prosecuted as such.
I know full well that if New Yorkers have a district attorney who doesn't use the office's resources to go after white collar crime, there is a good chance that crimes like these would go undetected.
For the low-income homeowners who stand to lose their homes because they're saddled with mortgages they cannot afford, that is an unacceptable outcome.
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