This week the Boston Herald’s Laura Crimaldi has a three-part series centered around one player — Dwight Jenkins (photo at right), a former felon from Dorchester who is accused of sweet-talking people into buying houses they couldn’t possibly afford, getting them loans based on false information about their income, and then secretly skimming tens of thousands of dollars off the top of each mortgage.
The series debuted on Sunday and concludes today. The Herald Web site can be pretty difficult to navigate if you’re looking for something other than breaking news, so here you go: part one, part two and part three. You should find most of the sidebars here.
When you read some of the details, you’ll be appalled that anyone could be as naive as Jenkins’ alleged victims. Then you realize that, for the most part, these are people with no financial savvy whatsoever, being told that they can get rich if they’ll just sign on the dotted line.
One alleged victim now suing Jenkins, a former Marine named Robert Smith, is described as “suffer[ing] from schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, a learning disability and mild retardation, [and] was told he could turn a profit even though he didn’t have money to invest or experience in real estate.”
Here’s another eye-opening excerpt:
Much of the business was conducted on street corners or at a Dunkin’ Donuts on Dorchester Avenue, according to plaintiffs suing Jenkins. He did not have business cards, plaintiffs say, and used multiple cell phone numbers, which were sporadically turned off….
“I didn’t really look at the mortgage application,” said Daniel Montrond, now 27, of Dorchester, a State Street fund accountant, who purchased 36 Milton Ave. in Dorchester for $487,500 on Aug. 13, 2004. “He said: ‘Don’t worry about nothing. Just sign and I’ll take care of everything.’ I was like, alright. Cool.”
Not cool at all, as it turns out. And good on Crimaldi and the Herald for bringing this to light.