Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Twenty-Eight Days Until My Release From Taft Federal Prison Camp
And the countdown goes on. These final weeks of my imprisonment keep me busy. Last night I worked on a flyer I will use to promote Lessons From Prison. Preparations for the imminent release of my book drive me. I feel so proud to have completed the project and I’m really looking forward to holding the book in my hands.
I’ve given a copy of the manuscript to a fellow prisoner. It pleased me beyond description when he gave the book high praise, assuring me how reading the book prior to his confinement would have acclimated him for the journey. My first reader’s name is Steve, and he asked me some poignant questions. One was how I thought audiences would respond on efforts I am making to build a career around my offense.
The truth is, the career I’m striving to build centers on what I have learned as a consequence of my offense. I have paid the sanction for my conviction of securities fraud. The lessons I have learned while serving that sanction have imbued me with a knowledge and wisdom that I wish I would have had years before. I want to share this knowledge with others. In order to do so, however, I must earn a living. I expect to deliver value to those in my audience, and my expectations are that those who listen will not object to paying a reasonable fee that will enable me to provide such services.
One of the groups to whom I expect to speak will include academia. I know that college graduates may resist learning about ethics from a convicted felon, though I feel strongly that my experiences will deliver a powerful message. A draft letter I will send to university professors as a way of introduction to services I offer:
“Dear (Name of Professor):
My name is Justin Paperny and I write with hopes of making a contribution to your business class. I enclose a copy of my book, Lessons From Prison.
You may find it peculiar that a former prisoner would offer to speak with your students. The truth is, I have experiences from which those about to embark upon careers may learn. Let me explain.
In 1997 I graduated from the University of Southern California. Following graduation I joined into a partnership, and together we oversaw more than $200 million in investor assets as stockbrokers at Bear Stearns and later UBS. Together, we played am integral role in facilitating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of millions. Those decisions, rooted in greed and a declining moral code, led to my imprisonment.
Your students may have read theoretical texts about word dilemmas and thought themselves immune from such abstract descriptions. I can bring those moral dilemmas to life and help your students grasp how they can strike at the core of a professional career.
As a consequence of my bad choices, I was convicted of a federal crime. I humiliated my family and devastated my career. I suffered immense financial losses. I suffered through one year of imprisonment. Worst of all, I wrestle with my conscience in having contributed to the making of victims.
It is a message of redemption that I offer, a human message that I’m certain your students will appreciate. I will call you next week to inquire whether your schedule can accommodate me for a meeting.