The Killing Fields of East New York

The First Subprime Mortgage Scandal, a White-Collar Crime Spree, and the Collapse of an American Neighborhood

Stacy Horn

In this groundbreaking work of investigative journalism and true crime, Stacy Horn sheds light on how the subprime mortgage scandal of the 1970s and a long history of white-collar crime slowly devastated East New York, a Brooklyn neighborhood that would come to be known as the Killing Fields.





Page count




Sale date

January 28, 2025


9 x 6

About the Book

On a warm summer evening in 1991, seventeen-year-old Julia Parker was murdered in the Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York. An area known for an exorbitant level of violence and crime, East New York had come to be known as the Killing Fields. In the six months after Julia Parker’s death, 62 more people were murdered in the same area. In the early 1990s, murder rates in the neighborhood climbed to the highest in NYPD history. East New York was dying.


But how did this once thriving, diverse, family neighborhood fall into such ruin? The answer can be found two decades earlier. In response to redlining and discriminatory housing practices, the Johnson administration passed the Housing and Urban Development Act in 1968. The Federal Housing Authority aimed to use this piece of legislation to help low-income families of color finally achieve homeownership. But they could never have predicted how banks, lenders, realtors, and corrupt FHA officials themselves would use the newly passed law to make victims of the very people they were trying to help, and the devastation they would leave in their wake.


A compulsively readable hybrid of true crime and investigative journalism, The Killing Fields of East New York reveals how white-collar crime reduced a prospering neighborhood to abandoned buildings and empty lots. Following the dual threads of the hunt for the network of criminals behind the first subprime mortgage scandal and the ensuing downfall of East New York, Stacy Horn weaves a compelling narrative of government failure, a desperate community, and ultimately the largest series of mortgage fraud prosecutions in American history. The Killing Fields of East New York deftly demonstrates how different types of crime are profoundly entangled, and how the crimes committed in nice suits and corner offices are just as destructive as those committed on the street.