May 23, 2012
Word is felons are not welcome in Canada.
Recently, I was invited to keynote speak at a fraud conference in Ottawa, Canada on Oct 31. If the past with this group is any indicator there will be a few thousand people in attendance. The group is largely made up of accountants, auditors, professors, and other business types. My talk would focus on my journey through the criminal justice system.
In researching this event I learned that felons are not welcomed into the country unless they have been given prior approval; approval could take months and months. I feel grateful to the organizers of the event who have indicated they will do all they can to help get me approved in time. A simple review of the application proves our task will not be easy.
In thinking about the effort involved in making this trip I again wonder back to the choices that led me to prison. In many ways the prison term was the easiest part. It was clearly defined with a beginning and in end. More frustrating is the reality that for the rest of my life I will have to explain to others why I am deserving of a second chance. For clarity, I have never expected a second chance to be given to me. Indeed, since surrendering to prison on 28 April 2008, I have worked assiduously to earn a second chance. The process to improve and prove worthy of the second chance so many have generously bestowed on me is never ending. I plan to work at it for the rest of my life.
I hope the Canadian Governement reviews my application with an open mind. I have made it no secret that as a young stockbroker I made decisions that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. As a result of my conduct at UBS I created victims, embarrassed my wonderful parents, lost more than a million dollars, and of course, I endured the deprivations and indignities of federal prison. I deserved to be held accountable, and was. I hope my honesty and transparency, along with the measurable steps I have taken to improve my life and others, puts me in a positive light. I would very much like to make the trip. We will see…