4 NYC Community Centers to Be Built With Fines from White Collar Crimes: DA | NBC New York

4 NYC Community Centers to Be Built With Fines from White Collar Crimes: DA

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    Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance says the money will pay for four new community centers that work to keep kids on a positive path. Andrew Siff reports.

    (Published Monday, Feb. 27, 2017)

    A chunk of the $375 million fine that HSBC had to pay for illegally hiding foreign investments will be funding four new community centers in Manhattan, District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced Monday. 

    The prosecutor says the money seized from white-collar crimes will go toward centers in Washington Heights, Harlem, East Harlem and the Lower East Side. 

    "It balances our enforcement obligations as prosecutors with our investment as public officials," he said.

    One of the new hubs is minister Mo Winley's Soul Saving Station Church of 124th Street. Winley, who once faced a conviction of manslaughter, is now helping to prevent crimes.

    James Roarty/NBC 4 New York

    "I was once a young man who was lost," he said. 

    The money will also help pay mentors like Beloved Hammond, a former gang member who says his job now is to save lives.

    "I used to be savage, causing havoc inside the community," he said. "Just given this opportunity to go chase a life -- we chase money, but we don't chase lives. It's a blessing." 

    Another counselor with a troubled past is now a mother with three sons.

    "What I'm scared of is as they get older, I don't want them to fall victim to the streets or to the justice system at all," said Makeba Reece. 

    Vance's move also got the endorsement of former Yankees manager Joe Torre, the son of an abusive dad. Torre runs the Safe at Home Foundation in Washington Heights, aimed at curbing domestic violence. 

    "If we are gonna end the cycle, we have to do it through education," he said. 

    Vance says there's enough funding to pay for three years of the community centers. After that, he hopes the city and private sector pick up the slack. 

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