September 29, 2015
I just got back from the “My Gym” class with my daughter when the phone rang…It was around 10:33am this morning.
“I was reluctant to call you because you spoke at the FBI Academy. What are you one of them now?” a really angry indicted doctor asked me this morning.
“I don’t understand the question. Paperny’s take things literally. So literally speaking no. I am a convicted felon, and am pretty confident I would not pass a background check to become an FBI agent.”
“Why were you there then?” he was fuming… For a moment I thought I was on a candid camera show or something.
“I lectured at the Academy in Quantico to help new agents develop more empathy for the people they investigate. I wanted them to see that good people make bad decisions. I shared my views that we incarcerate too many people, and that many white-collar crimes should be handled civilly, at worst. Further, I gave them advice on how they could help someone more readily acknowledge their conduct, rather than cover up, as I did. If I did not lie to the FBI I would not have gone to prison. Perhaps, my training will help them do their job better, which benefits everyone.”
“Well, whatever…I have read you are an Ayn Rand fan, so to save you time the whole Atlas Shrugged thing happened in my case…you know taking down the wealthy business guy exactly as she wrote.”
I am always amazed at how people misconstrue Rand.
“What do they want to send you to prison for?” I asked him.
“You won’t believe this! …oh no, they go after the business guy. Tell me, why aren’t Hillary Clinton and Sharpton in jail?” he was angrier than ever.
“I don’t know Al Sharpton or Hillary Clinton. I do not follow politics. I am too busy with my career and family. Regardless of what you think they might have done, however, how does that excuse your conduct?,” I was polite.
“Why don’t you tell me,” I continued, “what you are doing to convey to the court that you are not the person they say you are. Tell me how this experience is impacting your family. You might not view the taxpayers as victims of your tax crime, but what about your family? Is there anything positive you could do to make this experience more productive?”
Silence…for nearly a minute.. I felt like I was 22 years old again, and sitting through a sales training class for Merrill Lynch in New York…You know he who blinks first loses!
Eventually, he spoke. He was nicer, a little more willing to engage and not blame.
Look, I know enough about politics to know this very educated doctor spoke like one. For the most part, rather than answer questions, he deferred to his talking points, like politicians do! He was in no mood to answer my questions…
After several minutes, I told him that this experience would be better for his family if he could somehow find some hidden lessons or something to show this time was not wasted.
I do believe we lock up too many people, and that many, many cases should be handled civilly, at best–exactly as I told the FBI when I lectured there.
I have no doubt that this man does not need to be in prison. I know the same goes for many of the people who follow my work…
But this doctor is going…And I wanted him to know the time does not have to be wasted.
“Would you like to me tell you some hidden lessons of a prison term,” I asked him.
“There are no lessons. But if you want to tell me, feel free,” he said.
“Okay, let’s choose the number 7. Sit back, and let me share 7 lessons I learned from serving time in federal prison. Is that okay?”
“Yes,” he said.
If you would like to know those 7 lessons, I share them in this video.
P.S Yes, it is possible to change your surrender date after you have been designated. Last week, after someone invested in our sentencing calculator they saw they could serve a few less days if they switched dates. If you have questions about the process, just email me.
CLICK HERE to learn more about our federal prison sentencing tool…