7 Lessons Learned In Prison

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.

CLICK HERE To Watch: 7 Lessons Learned In Prison



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…

How To Succeed on Federal Probation

September 18, 2015

When I was in federal prison at Taft Federal Prison Camp, I grew to hate hearing myths that too many federal prisoners treated as fact. At times I think it was just easier to belief the myth because it was an excuse to not prepare for life after prison.

“What is the point? It will not matter anyway. Just forget about it. Why even bother? are questions and statements I heard daily. 

Those statements were simply rationalizations to remain lazy and indifferent to the challenges any felon faces after release.

For purposes of this post, and the video I share, I am referring specifically to life on supervised release. Every day in federal prison, I heard.

  1. Your probation ain’t going to let you travel!
  2. He will not let you work from home or start a home based business.
  3. They will find a way to throw you back in prison, so it doesn’t matter what you do.
  4. Why look for a job in the halfway house? The probation officer won’t approve it anyway.

Rather than buying into such garbage, I took a different approach. I wanted to demonstrate to my probation officer why I was worthy of more liberty and why I had earned the right to build a home based business. I did not just talk about it. No, I worked from prison each day. I wrote blogs, grew my network, lined up employment opportunities for my release. Then, I wrote letters to my probation officer–I read the letter I wrote to him from prison in this video. You should copy it and mirror my prison adjustment.

As a result of my efforts, my three year term of supervised release was a piece of cake. I was honest, transparent, and I do believe my probation officer viewed as someone who was working hard to make amends. As a result, he respected me.

For those of you on the way to prison, you choose which road is better for you: complaining, buying into made up myths or preparing. Your call…

Justin Paperny

The Federal Prison Hustler

EXPLOITED red Rubber Stamp over a white background.

August 26, 2015

The Federal Prison Hustler

Two days ago a frantic wife called to tell me that her husband who is serving 36 months for fraud ran into problems with a prison hustler. The problem is almost any new prisoner could fall into the same trap he did.

The question for this blog is whether you will make the same decisions as this former accountant or whether you are willing to prepare for a different outcome.

I share the case study in this 5 minute video:

Case Study: The Prison Hustler


Justin Paperny

P.S. In the first 74 seconds of this video, I explain why most prisoners who lose weight in prison put it back on after their release.

P.S.S. To reputation management, blogger Kevin Boardman just shared this endorsement. You can follow his blog HERE.

“Sharing your experience is a healthy experience with personal benefits that are hard to fully appreciate until you settle into the reality of prison. Each post can inspire several days of thought and reflection, and this helps me keep things in perspective through some unique and difficult circumstances. Writing is also a much needed mind-transformation away from this environment, where I can think and plan for the future. Additionally, receiving feedback from those reading it is very meaningful and encouraging. I receive comments and letters in the mail from people who are following along, and I appreciate knowing that they feel like they are able to remain close. I highly recommend challenging yourself to create content as a blogger that will certainly return benefits to both you and those who read it. Kevin Boardman”


EXPLOITED red Rubber Stamp over a white background.

EXPLOITED red Rubber Stamp over a white background.

Reputation Management From Prison

Reputation Management - Red Main Word with Blue Wordcloud on Digital Background.

August 24, 2015

Reputation Management From Prison

Admittedly, when I began writing from federal prison I wasn’t exactly sure what would happen. I can definitely say, however, that I was intrigued by the idea of documenting how I was seeking redemption and a second chance.

I knew my idea to blog was a good idea when most everyone told me that I was insane. Many of my fellow prisoners would tell me that writing openly about the crimes I facilitated at UBS would delay the healing.

One of the smartest decisions I ever made was not agreeing with him. I remember telling one prisoner in the chow hall that taking action allowed me to demonstrate what I was learning, and it helped me begin to show what was possible while living inside a federal prison.

I think many of my fellow prisoners blew off the idea because they knew how hard it would be. Certainly, writing a daily blog from Taft Federal Prison Camp and holding myself to that standard was very difficult. Writing has never come naturally for me. It still doesn’t.

Rather than concern myself with the best verb or problems with split infinitives, I knew I would improve my chances for success if I were authentic. That was all.

In time, my strategy grew. I developed three prongs to my blogs:

  1. Reputation management
  2. Ethics and corporate compliance
  3. Prison Consulting and strategies to help prisoners succeed before, during and after prison

Till this day the blogging strategy was the best one I pursued from federal prison.  And through my prison advice or prison consulting services it’s one I frequently teach my clients.

I’m pleased to announce that my partner, Michael Santos, and I have created a new reputation management course, which focuses heavily on blogging.

I’m giving the course away for free to everyone who opt in to my work and readers of my blog.

Click here to get our free course!

As a result of our success, process and authenticity, we are in the process of inviting dozens of more bloggers to document their journey on our sites. Within the next year, we expect to have 250 white collar offenders documenting their journey.

I encourage anyone who has interest in re-writing the narrative of their life to check out our free course. Or you can let others control the narrative. Your call…



P.S. – Do not delay! Go get our free course now! 



Reputation Management - Red Main Word with Blue Wordcloud on Digital Background.

Reputation Management – Red Main Word with Blue Wordcloud on Digital Background.

State Prison Advice

July 11, 2015

State Prison Advice

While most of my prison advice concerns federal prison, I do offer prison consulting services for those preparing for a journey through state prison. Frankly, whether serving time in a federal or state prison, many of the strategies to thrive remain the same. One must be proactive, think with the end in mind, put first things first, and understand how every activity or strategy relates to the obstacles they will face upon their release. I write about some of these new strategies in my new Prison Gone Bad Class.

Through Alan Eisner, a phenomenal attorney, I met Corey Frisch. When Corey and I spoke I learned that he was facing a sentence of up to 10 years in state prison–a sentence he would later receive. What inspired me about Corey was his willingness to take action. I frequently tell people they should only make the investment to hire me if they are willing to work. No elixir exists to make this all go away in an instant. Instead, one must embrace the journey will be long, with myriad obstacles, but also recognize that best in class strategies do exist to succeed.

By any measure Corey has excelled. Rather than complain about life in prison–or transit–he spends his time preparing. Certainly, he is aware of the obstacles that await him, or any felon. For those reasons he works to grow his network, develop new skills, and prove worthy of a second chance.

I asked Corey to write a guest blog highlighting his first months in prison. Since receiving this blog he has since transferred to Soledad, a prison I know well. Fortunately, a close friend runs a wonderful program there, and I expect Corey to enroll this fall. For those looking to learn more about thriving through prison, I encourage you to read Corey’s blog below. I hope he will consider writing more in the future.

Justin Paperny

Hello there! My name is Corey K. Frisch and I am currently a prisoner of the State of California.  I am 25 years old and this is my first experience with the criminal justice system.

I consider it an honor to have earned the privilege to communicate with a supportive and understanding group of people such as yourselves.  I am grateful to my friend, Justin Paperny, for inviting me to share a portion of my prison journey with you. As this is to be a short log of my experiences thus far, I do not have the space to provide much detail concerning the circumstances of my arrest, except that I am an alcoholic and caught my case while extremely intoxicated. I can provide more detail at a later time.  For now, I will paint you a picture of what I am currently going through.

On March 16, 2015, I surrendered myself to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after being on bond for close to two years. Six weeks previously, I pled guilty in court to assault with a firearm on a peace officer with “use of a weapon” add-charge. My plea deal provided me with ten years in state prison with 85% to be served. I am extremely fortunate that nobody apart from myself was injured during the course of my crime.

After sitting in the Los Angeles County jail for two weeks, I “caught the chain” and was transferred to my current location (Wasco State Prison Reception Center) to await my “permanent” placement.

I have been in prison for over two months. I am pleased to report that NONE of my experiences on the outside have even come close to replicating the miserable anxiety I felt during the days preceding my surrender.  While I cannot say it’s a party in here, it isn’t nearly as horrific as my mind imagined it to be. I can honestly say that I am doing okay. I am working hard each day and using my time wisely. I have to be productive!

Thus far, I have spent my time in this 200 man dorm reading, writing and exercising. I occasionally watch television in the dayroom as reception has extremely limited resources.  I have read many books here, but the ones that have helped me the most have been Unbroken (like the film) and a spiritual book called The Four Agreements.  These books have reminded me that though I am incarcerated, I have the power to change my attitude and to make the most of the situation.  Earning Freedom by Michael Santos has also assisted me in retaining my dignity, taking responsibility for my actions, and staying productive in a system that thrives on the failures of the inhabitants.

Writing, without a doubt, has been of great help to me. I regularly correspond with members of my Facebook group, “Corey Frisch Prison Support Network” via email and by having a friend transcribe/post my writings to the page on my behalf.  I also recently celebrated my two year sobriety birthday thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous.  Many members of the network are from AA.  I am in the process of writing out my story in hopes of being published in “The Grapevine”, an AA magazine. It would be a great way to stay productive buy sharing my experience, strength, and hope with as many people as possible.

I hope that this brief update has given you a sense of how I am coping with prison life, something I never imagined I‘d experience. Thank you again for reading my words.  I sincerely hope that we can get to know each other in greater depth.

With all sincerity,

Corey Frisch

My Deal With The Devil

June 12, 2015
My Deal With The Devil
As a consequence of my time in prison I came to embrace the cliché that life is about the journey. That time away from family, friends and my community helped me realize that I had a role to play in society.
Admittedly, before surrendering to prison things always seemed to be about me—my case, the financial losses, the damn lawyers asking for more money, the anger I felt over reading the DOJ’s press release and more.

In prison, I realized I had a responsibility to do better. It was not easy. To begin, I had to begin to undue years of making bad decisions. I would love to say the transformation was easy, but it was not.

Where did I start?

I learned to do my own thing. In prison, while writing blogs, then my book, guards and other inmates mocked me. “Ain’t no one going to care what some money manager got to say about ethics or prison,” the guard said to me. Almost as bad were many of the white-collar offenders who sought to diminish my efforts, while urging me to quit. Those men now call me looking for work.

After I began doing my own thing, I began waking early, while the dorm slept. I read books, wrote blogs, wrote my network (no e-mail yet in prison), taught classes, and began telling my story. In prison, I worked about 18 hours a day to prepare for the obstacles that awaited me, or any felon for that matter.

Perhaps you are wondering why I am sharing this with you?

My only regret while traversing the system was not starting sooner. As a result of living for so long like the proverbial ostrich with my head buried in the sand, I had to work twice as hard once I got to prison. Before surrendering I destroyed my network, spent all of my money, and hurt those that loved and supported me.

Many of you reading this blog have spoken with me. Others have followed my work for a while. Some of you are competitors who opt into my work to both learn from it and plagiarize it.

For those trapped in the system, I write this for you. Do not delay. A prospect told me earlier today that he would begin building his reputation once his lawyers negotiated the plea. Can I translate that for you? Okay, thank you. It means he will never begin. It is akin to the guys in prison who wasted five years of their prison term but loved to say they will begin preparing—and exercising—when they have six months to the house (halfway house for those who like the prison parlance).

It is hard for me to judge this gentleman, however, because I was him. I was the person I spoke with yesterday who couldn’t’ make a decision without her lawyer’s opinion. The problem is the lawyer hasn’t called her back for weeks. I was the person I met with in Beverly Hills over the weekend who knows that he should begin preparing for the PSI and that he should engage in some volunteer work, but is too paralyzed to act.

I regret nearly all of the decisions I made between January 11, 2005 the day UBS fired me for facilitating a fraud and April 28, 2008, the day I surrendered to prison. That time was harder than prison. I would love a do over.

The image I attach in this email is of a character that plays me in a documentary titled My Deal With The Devil that airs this Saturday. It was hard to film, to open up about the decisions I made as a younger man.  I agreed to do the film with NBC and Esquire because I still feel I have an obligation to give back, to carry that torch that I lit in prison.

To my clients reading this who are taking action, I admire you. You work on tasks each day that seemed to hard or daunting for me when I was in your shoes. To those wavering, take action. To those who cannot make a decision without that lawyer that famously gives them the blow off, take action and demand accountability. Lets not forget who works for who!

To close, I know that many reading this should not be prosecuted. As a taxpayer some of the prosecutions sicken me. America remains drunk on incarceration. But regardless of the motives of some (not all, but some) unethical prosecutors, you must prepare.

What can you do?

  • Write that narrative.
  • Learn to tell your story. What pressures, motivations and opportunities drove you?
  • Write out a list of people in your network, then call each one. I would not wait for the phone to ring.
  • Write a book list, and order the first 10, and then read them. In fact, email me the title of one of the books and I will order one for you now and in prison.
  • Inquire into some volunteer work in your community.
  • Go on job interviews and own your mistakes. You need practice telling your story.

And lastly: THINK BIG

I honeymooned in Italy and while studying Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel, I was thrust back to a quote of his that I read in prison. Namely, “the problem with goals is that we do not set them too big, but too small”

Despite this episode, life can eventually become better than ever. You will develop a different perspective and appreciation for what matters. And if done well this experience for you, as it was for me, will be but a blip in your life.

For those who will soon cross over into the wrong side of prison boundaries, I offer three reminders:

  1. Do your own thing, and do not become beholden to anyone.
  2. Access daily whether the tasks you are working on will translate to the obstacles you will certainly face upon release.
  3. What steps are you taking today to prove worthy of the love and support your network continues to offer you?

For those who wish to watch the show Saturday, I attach a link.




Who needs a criminal defense attorney?


June 4, 2015

Who needs a criminal defense attorney?

While reading the New York Post this morning I read about some people in my community were who indicted for securities fraud. In fact, some of these guys are literally in my backyard. Steven Fishoff, Paul Petrello, Ronald Chernin, and Steven Costanin were charged with  ripping off unidentified bankers to the tune of $3.2 million dollars. I have seen these types of releases so many times I won’t get more into the case. If you have interest read the article.

My point in writing this short piece is to tell these gentlemen that the steps they take today will heavily influence their outcome. In fact, I am sure that as I write this at least one of them is taking action, lawyering up and cutting a deal. Others are living in “la la land” telling friends and family this morning that they did nothing wrong, and that the government has totally overreached. I suspect I know how this will end. The length of their prison terms will be influenced by each decision they make today. For the sake of their families, I hope they all act wisely. That is the best prison advice I can give today. This process is always harder on those that love and support us.

I presume these guys are looking for quality lawyers. To help them, I created a series of questions they should pose to any lawyer they interview. I should note we have posed these same questions to lawyers who will be joining, Etika Connect, our specialized 250 lawyer directory. This directory will feature only 250 lawyers across the whole country. Unlike Avvo or Martindale, or other legal directories, that features every lawyer, we are inviting lawyers who fit our criteria. In Los Angeles, for example, we plan to add less than 10 lawyers. That way when the thousands of people who visit our sites every month need help, they will see their options. We will have vetted the best.


Since these guys are in LA, I suggest they interview Alan Eisner, Mark Werksman, Joel Athey (my criminal lawyer), and David Willingham (a former U.S. Attorney who arrested yours truly). These guys are smart, have tons of experience, and as important, they are not so damn desensitized to this process. I can assure you Alan, Mark, Joel and David can easily answer the questions below.


  1. Please describe your typical caseload?
  2. What provisions do you have in place for vacations or if you suddenly become saturated with other cases?
  3. Describe an example of misconduct you have experienced by legal counsel that has opposed you:
  4. Do you have references I can check?
  5. How much experience do you have in federal court?
  6. Do you charge hourly or is the fee inclusive?
  7. Who would be the primary contact for our clients if it isn’t you?
  8. Please describe your team:
  9. What would the interface be like and how would they typically communicate with the client: Phone/Email/Text/In-person? All of the above
  10. Describe the typical relationship you have with the majority of your clients after sentencing:
  11. Do you remain available to a client’s spouse to help clean up remaining issues if your clients go to prison?
  12. Describe your typical payment schedule:
  13. Have you ever had any ethical complaints or state bar issues?
  14. What do you consider is a reasonable amount of time to be prepared ahead of an arraignment or sentencing hearing?
  15. How do you typically brief your clients with updates on the timeline as you perceive it?

Justin Paperny

White-Collar Crime

The phrase Stop Doing What Doesn't Work on a paper note pinned to a cork notice board.

May 24, 2015

White-Collar Crime

“But your journey was easier.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked this former physician and white-collar offender who continues to struggle since his release from prison.

At least 20% of the people who reach out to me have been released from prison. Many are still angry over their case, the white-collar lawyer they hired, the injustices done them and more. Their rage and action less prison term, they are learning, has consequences. This caller attempted to take his frustration out on me.

Rather than bitch at me, I told him, perhaps it was time to begin taking more aggressive action. It is never too late to start.

“Whatever,” I felt like I was having a conversation with a three-year old.

“You think my journey was easier because you see books, blogs, a thriving career and a network who has a vested interest in my success. You discount my efforts and impugn my character as a way to make your self feel better. How is that approach working? I presume I am not the only one whose efforts you discount and chalk up to good luck. Walk me through your last week, month, and year. What steps have you taken to position yourself for a better future?”

“Who are you Anthony Robbins, the motivational guru?” he asked.

“No, nothing I do is motivational. In fact, I have turned down paid speaking events when they insisted I be the “motivational speaker.” I served a year in camp. Throughout history people have endured 10 million times more than I have ever endured. I had it easy, still do, relative to most people who have ever endured struggle. If prison turns out to be the greatest struggle of my lifetime I will have hit the jackpot! What I do is help people overcome the myriad consequences of their crime. Simple! I engineered a blueprint others can learn from. Some follow it, then lead more productive lives. Some do not.”

“How much?”, he was more interested now.

“Could be free, it could be $20,000. Not sure. Frankly, we are not ready to talk money. Even if you made the investment I am not sure you are ready to act. For this to work, and to get a better idea I direct you to Chapter 6 of Ethics in Motion, you will need to implement a few small things to your daily routine. If you can do that, we can discuss working together longer term.”

“Fine.” he said.


The phrase Stop Doing What Doesn't Work on a paper note pinned to a cork notice board.

My first small thing was not giving prison advice or working as a prison consultant or writing books about white-collar crime, but rather a walk around the track with my friend Michael Santos at Taft Federal Prison Camp. On that walk, much like I did with this Doctor, he suggested I implement a few small daily things to get on track. Slowly, incrementally, as Aesop’s fable Tortoise and The Hare teaches, I improved. Most important, I came to find great value in the journey along with the pain and frustration that accompanies it. If I do my job well, this gentlemen will take some small steps, hire me, then embark on a plan to continue to become better, stronger and more capable. No, that is not a motivational message, but rather a message of personal responsibility.

For some perspective, I attach a video that includes my first blog, along with some info on a new white-collar crime directory I created.

Justin Paperny

P.S. I am getting some emails asking about our sentencing calculator that tells the best day to surrender to get up to an extra 6 days off your prison term. The calculator is $99 dollars and will be for sale in early June.

Prison Advice

May 16, 2015

A gentlemen called me this morning after googling “life in federal prison.” He also told me that he googled, “prison advice”, “white-collar crime”, and “the residential drug abuse program.” Through his searches he told me that he came across an ABC interview I did in January that discussed the sentencing and likely prison term of former Virginia Governor, Bob McDonnell. If I recall correctly, I believe something ran on TV, but I did not know a YouTube video also existed. This gentlemen who called me told me that he appreciated and valued my comments about how Governor McDonnell, or anyone for that matter, could spend time in prison.

I am thankful this gentlemen told me about this video. Based on the comments I made in this video, and of course our call today, we have agreed to work together for the next three weeks as he prepares for his surrender to the prison camp in Sheridan, Oregon. We will also do some RDAP, or residential drug abuse program, planning with my buddy and colleague, Seth Ferranti. Seth’s journey is an incredible one that one day will be a movie. For those who wish to learn more about Seth visit www.GorillaConvict.com.

Anyways, for those that have interest I attach the YouTube video titled, “Convicted Former Virginia Governor Gets Prison Tips”


Prison Advice with Lions of Liberty

May 14, 2015

Prison Advice with Lions of Liberty

For those that have interest in listening to my thoughts on preparing for success from prison and prison reform, I attach a podcast video I filmed with Lions of Liberty. I met the folks at Lions of Liberty, and specifically, Marc Clair through my colleague Michael Santos. I appreciated the opportunity to contribute, and I hope listeners find value in the podcast.

Justin Paperny