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Mortgage fraud surges in Chicago

David Jackson, with contributions from Ray Gibson, Todd Lighty and John McCormick of the Chicago Tribune, reviewed thousands of pages of land and court records and interviewed more than 100 people to show that a white-collar crime wave is raking Chicago's poorest communities, robbing vulnerable families of their homes and draining billions of dollars from the U.S. economy. During the past five years, mortgage fraud has surged as home loans become easier than ever to get and identity theft has blossomed. The five-part investigation found that blending face-to-face scams with computer forgery, fraud crews typically include home loan executives, appraisers and scouts who troll for victims. "Mortgage swindling has helped drug-dealing gangs, including Chicago's Black Disciples, solidify their control over street corners, launder money and gain safe houses to launch operations. " The story has prompted Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to call for an investigation into mortgage fraud.

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