October 16, 2008

Conviction for Securities Fraud

Standing in my cube today for the 10:30 A.M. count, I wondered if I had any real chance of avoiding prison. I realized that answer probably came on April 28, 2005, the day I interviewed with the FBI.

It’s an understatement to say I got off to a terrible start with the government. Convinced I had committed no crime, I was not entirely truthful during my interview and dug myself a hole that

Standing in my cube today for the 10:30 A.M. count, I wondered if I had any real chance of avoiding prison. I realized that answer probably came on April 28, 2005, the day I interviewed with the FBI.

It’s an understatement to say I got off to a terrible start with the government. Convinced I had committed no crime, I was not entirely truthful during my interview and dug myself a hole that became too deep to ever climb out of.

Most people would properly prepare for an interview with the FBI. Not me. The first mistake was not retaining a criminal defense attorney to attend the interview with me. Believe me, I had plenty of time in which to do so. Instead, I retained a firm that for the most part, practiced civil litigation and bankruptcy and where my mother worked as a paralegal.

Unprepared, we marched in to the meeting without spending as much as ten minutes to prepare. I gave myself zero chance to succeed and no chance to be apologetic or contrite. In return, it was simply a matter of time before I pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities, wire and mail fraud. My immediate honesty with the civil attorney would have resulted in referral to a criminal defense attorney, Instead, my actions wasted a lot of time and money.

Fortunately, months later, I had a second chance at veracity. I knew the FBI agents, the United States Attorneys and the Securities and Exchange Commission would review and verify my every word. Eventually I was able to redeem myself as both the Judge and prosecutor acknowledged.

There are many who find it simply too difficult to accept that the government has targeted them for prosecution. The first, second and third reaction is to deny, deny and deny. Surprisingly, when I arrived at Taft Camp, I met many defendants who had followed the same path to perdition. Defendants must understand that in 90% of all cases, convictions follow criminal charges. Those who face criminal indictments rarely appreciate the gravity of their situation. They live in denial, as I did, surrendering their fate to attorneys who may or may not have their best interests at heart.

I urge defendants to learn about the system. By consulting with others who have struggled through similar predicaments, defendants can arm themselves to make better decisions. Had I done so, I may not have avoided a guilty plea, but I most likely would have avoided prison.

It is never too late to start preparing…Download Lessons From Prison Now to discover what is truly possible in federal prison.

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