July 23, 2014

7 Lessons I Learned After I Plead Guilty

Sometimes people mock my brief 18-month sentence. I will acknowledge that 18-months is not a significant term. What many people do not understand, however, is that the 3 1/2 years I spent dealing with my case was in many ways harder than prison. As I wrote in Lessons From Prison, I made a number of poor decisions while working through the system. Rather than look back with regret, I choose to use my experience as an asset to help others. My clients do indeed benefit from my experience, the good and the bad. Part of that experience includes helping them gain a better understanding of the ramifications that follow a guilty plea. Yesterday,  I reflected on some of the valuable lessons I learned after pleading guilty in February 2007. I hope my readers find value in them.

7- Cover up is worse than the crime: My actions following my termination at UBS prolonged my struggle and delayed the healing that should have begun sooner.

6- Legal fees: Not working openly and honestly with council cost me at least an additional 6 figures in legal fees.

5- I’ll never get used to the Department of Justice press releases: Regardless of how hard I work to become better than bad decisions of my past, those DOJ releases will never go away.

4- Not out to get me: Initially, I resented the government and FBI agents for destroying my life. In time, I realized they were simply doing their job and out to protect investors who became victims.

3- Whose coming with me?: I learned who my true friends were.

2- Forgiveness would not just happen by saying, “I’m sorry”: I understood that my apologizes would have to be followed up with a plan and massive amounts of action.

1- I’m an underdog now: I knew that a stigma would follow the felony. To thrive I would have to think and act differently than the majority of the men the system takes in and spits out.

Justin Paperny


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