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Queens woman on CBS’ ‘Pink Collar Crimes’: ‘Bad choices don’t make us bad people’

Jamila Davis was sentenced to 12 years behind bars in 2008.

Queens native Jamila Davis, who was sentenced to more than a decade behind bars in 2008, will appear on CBS' "Pink Collar Crimes" on Saturday.  (Credit: CBS)

A formerly incarcerated Queens woman -- known as “The Woman Who Brought Down Lehman Brothers Bank” -- told her story during an episode of CBS’ new crime true-crime series, “Pink Collar Crimes.”

“I wanted others to know the truth,” Jamila Davis, 40, says. “A lot of people think they know why women commit crimes, but it’s really a larger narrative that generally doesn’t get heard.”

The Jamaica, Queens, native was sentenced to 12 years behind bars in 2008 after facing conspiracy and fraud charges. She joins a group of “unexpected women,” from PTA moms to country-club chairwomen, found guilty of crimes whose closed cases are revisited in the series.

In Davis’ episode, which aired Saturday, she talked viewers through her life as a self-made real estate broker, delving into “iffy mortgages” and inflating credit scores. Her high-profile case made headlines in 2008, as she was accused of defrauding Manhattan’s Lehman Brothers of more than $14 million in the midst of the financial crisis.

“My business started out legit,” Davis says in the episode. “ . . . Then, I found a contact in the auto-broker industry who connected me with someone who could hack into all three credit bureaus. This hacker could turn a credit score to 800 instantly.”

Eventually, her shortcuts caught up to her. She served nine years behind bars in Connecticut’s Federal Correctional Institution and was released in June 2017.

Since then, she’s been speaking out about her experience to help “humanize those of us who often go unheard.”

“Many female offenders are looked at as monsters or bad people, and that’s not always the case,” she says, explaining why she decided to take her tale to TV. “There are a lot of women who are just like myself that were seeking love, attention and had the desire to take care of their families.”

She adds: “We made bad choices, but that doesn’t make us bad people.”

Davis returned to New York City one year ago as a published author of more than a dozen self-help books after her incarceration. She planned to watch the episode (which imposes actor portrayal over her narrative) alongside her two children Kywuan and Diamond, who also appear in the episode.

“It’s really going to be an emotional moment for me,” she says. “It takes courage to share the intimate details of your life, especially exposing your flaws and mistakes.”

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