The international business newspaper Financial Times has published a lengthy article on Carl Cole, the Bakersfield real estate broker headed to prison for his part in a massive mortgage fraud.
Cole, his business partner David Crisp and a dozen others have pleaded guilty to charges related to the $30 million fraud case. Cole is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 18.
As is often the case with stories from outside publications, author Gary Silverman plays up old themes like "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Streets of Bakersfield" in describing the city where Cole landed in 1988.
"Bakersfield was a fitting place for Cole to start over. It has been giving Americans second chances since the Joad family came to the Weedpatch work camp, a few miles south of the city, in John Steinbeck's Great Depression novel, 'The Grapes of Wrath.' Bakersfield's population has grown more than 10-fold since those days -- to about 350,000 -- as more of the 'moving, questing people,' as Steinbeck called his displaced subjects, arrived."
The Financial Times piece -- headlined "Welcome to Bakersfield, California" -- is drawing some criticism from Columbia Journalism Review, which describes the profile as "excellent and well written" but weakened by "ultimately letting Wall Street off the hook as if it were a victim of the mortgage-fraud frenzy."