They could have shrugged.
They could have deemed the problem too widespread to attack. They could have said they are understaffed — outgunned by the forces of greed.
But they did not.
They chose to pool resources as seldom seen before. Federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies and prosecutors worked with postal inspectors and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The result: more than 100 arrests statewide, including Southwest Florida, stemming from mortgages worth more than $400 million on an estimated 700-plus pieces of property.
And this, said officials at a press conference about the sweep the other day, is just the tip of the iceberg.
Those officials put the effort in context by pointing to the breadth of the damage done. Mortgage fraud steals from banks and stockholders and hurts our entire economy. Would-be legitimate home buyers still have a harder time with transactions to this day. The manipulation of already overheated property values has backfired on nearly everyone.
Taxpayers who have propped up failing financial institutions have felt like the only ones being punished.
Exactly who should be punished may take some time as days in court come and go and some of the accused blame others.
Indeed, it is a tangled web, but it is a web that this team of investigators and prosecutors has refused to let get too complicated. There is justice to be won.