January 31, 2011
Mortgage Fraud Sends You Direct To Federal Prison
Alan is a mortgage broker who called me today with questions. He was struggling with anxieties over how his life would change once he surrendered to federal prison. A guilty plea in federal court to charges of mortgage fraud has resulted in Alan’s 36-month sentence. Although it’s a long time to contemplate, I tried to convey to Alan that the worst part of his journey was behind him.
I understood Alan’s frustration with my response. For the past three years he had been struggling with the criminal justice system. He graduated from the University of San Diego in 1991 and succeeded brilliantly as a mortgage broker. When one of the protégés in his office coached a federal agent through a fraudulent mortgage application, however, Alan became vulnerable. He endured scores of meetings with criminal defense attorneys. He participated in a debriefing session with federal prosecutors. He paid six-figure fees in a futile effort to deny responsibility. Finally, on the eve of going to trial, he agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lower prison term.
Although surrendering to prison is not easy, the truth is that Alan’s self-surrender will provide him with a toehold. Struggles with the criminal justice system feel like falling into an abyss. The continuous fall brings enormous pressure not only on the defendant, but also on all of those who care for the defendant. Now that Alan has some finality in his life, he will begin to build a better future. It may seem ironic that the building of a better future can begin inside a federal prison. Experience convinces me that it’s true, however. The key is keeping a strong attitude.
As I told Alan today, to the extent that he begins his term with a complete commitment to emerge stronger, he will. A necessary component of such a strategy requires that Alan muster a strong will. He can commit to personal development projects that will bring meaning to his life. Those projects may include reaching new fitness goals. They may include teaching others. They may include making plans for the projects that Alan wants to pursue upon his release. What is important, I think, is that Alan begins with a plan, make a commitment, take action, and hold himself accountable with daily progress.
For the past several years Alan hasn’t had any control over his life. Now he has clarity. He knows exactly what lies ahead of him. He can create a path home, and I intend to help him do so.
If you are facing challenges with the criminal justice system, please call me. My name is JP and I would love to be your prison consultant.