When we first met Tony D’Souza, 38, back in 2005, he was waiting tables at the old Metro Café on Osprey Avenue and about to publish his first novel, Whiteman, based on his experience with the Peace Corps in Africa’s Cote d’Ivoire.
I knew I wanted to do the story, but I couldn’t have told you exactly why [at first]. But then I read the 96 victim impact statements that were collected in preparation for the Nadel sentencing—a novel’s length of pain and misery.
There was one victim statement in particular that I found so moving: A couple had lost all of their money in this Ponzi scheme, and because the husband had invested everything, his wife of 50 years lost respect for him and divorced him. And I read that and thought, You’ve been married for 50 years, and now you’ve reached the end of your life and you’re divorcing. It felt almost like a personal blow. [Financial crime] takes away our most basic dreams; it attacks our sense of safety, our sense of self-worth, and it takes away our life’s work. That was when [it all] clicked for me. I was so excited to get involved with this; it lived up to all my hopes and dreams of being a journalist, and it was one of the most challenging pieces I’ve ever written.
Photo by Cameron Neilson