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Gangs Want A Piece of the Bubble

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You know, it was about time that the gangs got into the mortgage business. Reuters is reporting that two dozen people have been indicated for running a mortgage fraud operation in San Diego, but the interesting part is that the whole racket was led by Darnell Bell, a well-known gang member from Los Angeles. According to Reuters, Bell is in the Lincoln Park street gang (a gang in San Diego), and it sounds like he was less involved because of his real estate experience, but because he's a people person. The indictment alleges that the group used straw buyers. More via Reuters: "They submitted offers that exceeded the homes' asking prices, and had the overage paid to a shell construction company that they claimed would make upgrades or handicap modifications to the properties, prosecutors said. The defendants instead disbursed the "kickback amount" to members and associates of the enterprise as payments for their participation, the indictment said." ABC News is also covering the larger story, reporting that this was part of a FBI fraud investigation.