L.A. Daily News' Brent Hopkins posts over at the paper's crime blog, It's A Crime, a story on James Anthony Rojas, who, under the business name Victoria Holdings, was arrested September 28th for preying on people whose houses have gone into foreclosure. He's been accused of forging documents to get people to sign their houses over to him, and then turning around and using those houses to secure loans.
Rojas isn't new to this game. Seems he got popped four years ago on grand theft in a similar case using the name Tri-Star Investments. He got off with probation.
Desperate people are willing to believe anything that looks like a life preserver, and cons like this prey on that panic. Downturns are just opportunities to these people. Sort of an economic bellwether. Like flower shops and hem lines. Bank robberies, too, probably. I wonder if anyone's correlated the GDP with the number of bank robberies.
When it comes down to it, two things bring out the grifters; easy money and easy marks. The easy money's gone, but the easy marks are just getting started.