Preparing For Tuscon Federal Prison Camp

Justin Paperny:
Hi everyone. I’m Justin Paperny with White Collar Advice. I’m really pleased to welcome my good friend and client Steven Lamont to the program. Hi Steve.

Steve Lamont:
Hello there Justin.

Tucson Federal Prison Camp

Tucson Federal Prison Camp

Justin Paperny:
Steve, we’ve been on a road together for a while. It gets a little emotional because you are surrendering to Tucson Federal Prison Camp on Monday. I’m grateful you’ve taken some time to share some insights with us. I kind of want to go through some rapid fire questions and the goal is to educate defendants watching this, their families who might be in a position that you’re in right now. Let’s jump right in with you’re going in on Monday, for 27 months to Tuscon Federal Prison Camp. How do you feel?

Steve Lamont:
I’m excited a little bit. Today is Friday, so I’ve only got the weekend. I’ve been super busy this week, just tying up loose ends and spending time with the kids. Looking forward to some family time on Sunday and then the drive down which is about two and a half hours.

Justin Paperny:

Now, some people are surprised when they hear a little excited to go in. I can relate to that, right?

The stress that accompanies this process, or the unknown, it’s very hard. To a degree, it’s nice to go in because you begin to get credit for it. You’ll get credit for an actual day in prison. In a way, you’ve already been in federal prison in many ways. Let’s look back over the last year. For those watching, Steve retained me in February of 2016 and we’ve been very close ever since. What are some lessons over the last years as you were dealing with your case and some advice for defendants who are going through a similar situation?

Steve Lamont:
One thing for sure is you have to enjoy your life. We all have family. We’ve all had birth and death and all different types of things occur to us and one of the things that men like myself that are in the business world, that are busy, that are attempting to be successful, is we’re busy. We’re going full speed ahead. We just take a lot of things for granted. This process has enlightened me. It’s taught me to slow down a little bit. Enjoy making my son breakfast in the morning, and seeing him come home from school and having a nice conversation with my wife over the phone, and my interaction with my friends and young people that I interact with that I mentor or coach is to really enjoy those moments. A lot of that has to do with having some clarity. Once this thing hits you, and it takes over your life, because it does take over your life.

Justin Paperny:
Yep.

Steve Lamont:

You need some clarity and you need people around you that you can communicate to.

At the end of the day, my responsibility is to be as strong as I possibly can so that my family will be strong. They’ll be prepared. That doesn’t mean that I don’t insecure moments and concerns and fears. You need people to be able to talk to somebody about, to talk about those things with. That’s kind of where you came in as my friend and prison consultant. You put my mind at ease and prepared me for the process, and got me to focus on the actual process, not just obsess about going to prison and losing my freedom. It was more about the actual process.

Justin Paperny:
Yeah.

Steve Lamont:
Got me in touch with a lot of feelings and a lot of different people and put me in a good spot.

Justin Paperny:
When I hear that, I remember our first phone call. Steve called me on a Sunday and Steve has spoken with me at University of San Diego and he told the students there. How did you meet Justin? Well, Steve had called me on a Sunday, left a message. Didn’t think I’d call him back on a Sunday but I did. We just sort of hit it off in the beginning. From the first few minutes, Steve I think knew that some day he’d go to prison. He still got a lower than guideline sentence. It could have been worse. He was immediately asking questions about prison. What is the job like? How do I do this? How do I connect with my kids?

I’m like, bud. You haven’t pled guilty yet. You haven’t been indicted. Let’s focus on what you can do to get the best possible sentence and the most favorable institution, closest to your home. Talk a little bit about I guess where you were when you reached out to me, and did you underestimate how much you could do to prepare for sentencing?

Steve Lamont:
Well, one thing that I’ve been fortunate to do, having gone through a lot of adversity in my life, business wise, personally, whatever is I learned to process things and take them for what they are. One of the things my attorney always said to me every time I met with him, he’s like, “Why are you always in a good mood?”

Justin Paperny:
Yeah.

Steve Lamont:
That’s something you can control. It’s not his fault. It’s not the district attorney’s fault, or the FBI agents or whatever. Who ever worked on your case, it’s not their fault. It’s got laid in their lap and they’re doing their job.

Justin Paperny:
Steve let’s transition to the relationship with your lawyer. You have an excellent relationship with your lawyer. I like to think that I helped. You had a very good relationship with your lawyer, which helped your end game. Talk about why you think your relationship was so positive and some advice you have for defendants who are looking to hire a lawyer or just from your experience in how well you worked with your lawyer.

Steve Lamont:
One of the thing, my attorney was older than me. He’s in his 60s and that gave me some comfort. I figured wealth of experience. One of the things he told me he had a good working relationship with the US Attorney’s Office. At the end of the day, I knew I wasn’t going to go to court. His relationship with them was going to be vital. That put me at ease. At first, I was a little uncomfortable because he was in kind of an office that wasn’t that nice. Over the years of dealing with him, I realized it was strategically placed. It was in walking distance from the court, walking distance to the hotels, things like that.

Justin Paperny:
Yeah.

Steve Lamont:

I was a little worried at first, because I was like, wow. Shouldn’t I be, for what this is going to cost me, doesn’t this person need to have a nice, pretty building to work out of?

I realized quickly that he was a good man, number one, and he just made me feel at ease and also if I ever kind of questioned what was going on, he set me straight. I think it’s important for guys that have been self employed or been in control of their own destiny, work related stuff, is they get somebody that is a little above them in regards to maturity and controlling the room, because we’re so used to being in control and making decisions. It’s important, this is something you don’t know. For us to do that, it’s wrong. You put yourself at risk and if you don’t respect your attorney, then there’s going to be conflict. Also, if you don’t take ownership of what you did, and you don’t think any of these things should be happening to you, which most of us don’t feel that any of these things should be happening to us, it’s kind of hard to make progress.

Justin Paperny:
Well, you worked openly with your lawyer. That was essential and we don’t want to flush money down the toilet. Whether you’re paying a lawyer or inclusively, you want to use their time wisely. The more they believe you, the more they’re going to be in a position to sell you. That’s what really great lawyers do. They sell to the government, the judge, the probation officer. They help sell why you’re worthy of the best sentence. I’ll note, Steve had some very flattering, I shouldn’t say flattering. You had some excellent language from your pre-sentence interview from the probation officer that was I think more impressive than anything that you could have written or your lawyer could have said, because it came from the government, why you’re worthy of the lower end. Your background, mitigating factors. That was the home run.

Let’s talk about the pre-sentence interview. The first time we spoke as we mentioned, you had more questions about federal prison, and specifically Tucson Federal Prison Camp.

I said, “We need to focus on first things first, that pre-sentence interview.” You had an awesome pre-sentence interview. Talk a little bit about our preparations and the comfort that you had in knowing how that interview would impact your end game.

Steve Lamont:
When you ask him what the process is, you’re listening but you’re not hearing.

Justin Paperny:
Yeah.

Steve Lamont:
He’s just telling you all the different steps, and oh there’s a pre-sentencing interview. It’s something they do prior to you pleading.

Justin Paperny:
Just show up and answer some questions, what ever.

Steve Lamont:
Yeah, like it’s not that big of a deal.

Justin Paperny:
Yeah.

Steve Lamont:

He had seen me work in a room before. He had seen me talk to the US Attorney’s Office. He knew I was going to be good in an interview, or good with somebody, because I’m respectful.

Justin Paperny:
You’re honest.

Steve Lamont:
I’m honest and I smile my face. I was nervous going into that because you had let me know how important that was, because that’s really what the judge sees in you that kind of paints the picture of who you are, what you’re all about, what you’ve done in your life, from a legal standpoint. It’s not all the nice character reference letters that you gather, all the nice things people say about you. This is factual stuff. He was very clear with me in the pre-sentencing interview that he’s not there to help me. He’s not there to hurt me. He’s there just to stick to the facts. I just had positive attitude when I was in that meeting. Because we had prepared for it enough, I felt super prepared but I felt amped up. It felt like I was talking in front of a room of 200 sales people like I’ve done before.

Justin Paperny:
Yep.

Steve Lamont:
It’s just me and this guy, and my attorney. It went well. He let me know he was going to reach out to my family members and of course, they were nervous about that as well. My wife was prepared. We were actually driving back from San Diego when he had called her and was asking questions. I had a really good feel for what he was going to ask her based on mine and his interaction. I think because I had a positive attitude, he gave me a little bit more information than he normally would give somebody in my situation.

Justin Paperny:

For those watching, Steve did a lot of things to position himself for the best outcome.

He’s been a coach in his community for a long time. He committed to paying back a little bit of money towards the restitution. He worked openly with his lawyer. He was very transparent in his financials. He did some public speaking with me, like I said. You visited with me at University of San Diego, maybe USC too but I forget. I know for sure University of San Diego, you spoke to the students, and they appreciated it. You shared your cautionary tale. You’re giving back expecting nothing in return, like money or anything. I want to tell you how I made a couple of bad decisions and how it’s going to separate me from my wife and my kids and I want you to do better. An open story like that, it went a long way. Your character reference letters in your narrative.

Steve mitigated. He didn’t say, “Hey Justin. There’s nothing I can do to prepare. Whatever the judge does,” a lot of cliches. It is what it is man.

He said, “Look, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I want to do all I can to prepare to get the best outcome.” I think that’s part of the reason he got a lower than guideline sentence. He got the prison of his choosing. Let’s transition as we wrap up to the next couple of days.

For those watching, what’s the hardest part of this experience? As you’re getting ready to surrender in the next 72 hours, reflect on the hardest part for all of us watching.

Steve Lamont:
It’ll be the time away from my family and making sure that they’re okay. I’m going to be okay. I can live in a one bedroom apartment or studio and I’d be fine.

Justin Paperny:
Yeah.

Steve Lamont:
I’m a guy. Give me the ball game and something to do and I’m good. When you have the responsibility of being a husband and a father, and you’re not able to physically be there, I’ve spent years preparing for this. It changed the way I parent. It changed the way I interacted with my children and my wife and so that they could be prepared. I think the biggest thing for me is when I’m gone and when that realization hits them that I’m gone. It has not hit them now. We talk openly about this. We make jokes about it. We’re prepared. There is going to be that one time when one of my kids would have come to me, because something important’s happened, and I’m not going to physically be there to be able to help them. That’s my biggest concern, is that right there, making sure that my wife doesn’t lose her mind with the actual responsibilities or be place upon her. Make sure my 21 year old who’s moved back in the house to help with the 16 and the 12, doesn’t lose his mind as well, because the meaningless babbling conversations that you tend to have with a 12 year old.

Justin Paperny:
I don’t know yet. Some day, my daughter’s nearly three, but I’ll get there. I totally get it. Lastly, you were very transparent with your children, that you were Daddy’s going to jail. When did you tell them? I know the answer but I want our viewers to know. Did you wait until you were sentenced, before sentencing? How did you respond and how did they respond to wow, our father is going to federal prison? My god, talk to us a little bit about that.

Steve Lamont:
There were stages. My daughter, who’s 25, worked at the company that was under investigation. She knew before anyone.

Justin Paperny:
Yeah, yeah. They notified her first, to get to you.

Steve Lamont:

I have been telling my wife since 2012 that there’s a high probability that this thing is going to land me in federal prison, and specifically, Tucson Federal Prison Camp.

Justin Paperny:
Yeah.

Steve Lamont:
It’s just weird because I always been pretty much tried to stay positive and have moved on with my life. Nobody ever really believed that this day was going to come because I wasn’t showing traditional behaviors of somebody that was going to be incarcerated.

Justin Paperny:
Yeah.

Steve Lamont:
I wasn’t showing the fear and the anxiety and the stress and anger. I was staying positive. My son who’s 21 that’s here in the house, I told him years ago, that hey this is going to go down one day. Pretty much let my 16 year old know at the time he was probably 14 or 15 that hey, I’m dealing with some stuff that might land on my plate. I remember in February, about the time that I called you, I had very pointed conversations with my 25, 24, 21, and 16 year old, and said, “Hey, this is definitely happening.” They were all a year or so younger. I said, “Hey, I’m going in. It’s going to take a year or so for this to play out, but I’m definitely going in.” I held off on my 12 year old. There were some things that made us think that I had a shot at only getting like eight months. That’s a much easier conversation to have with a 12 year old. Hey, I’m going to be gone for a couple months. Heck, I could have even lied and said I went out of town on business. We waited.

Over Christmas break, this past Christmas break. I had not been sentenced. I started to get an idea that this wasn’t going to go well for me. I had a business that I did after the business that I got in trouble for, that I shut down and there were some negative things associated with that. It’s kind of, and I knew that that was going to hurt me. I had done some stupid things in the 90s that was on the pre-sentencing report that the judge was going to see. The reality was, my attorney was like, “Wow.” He knew what his argument was going to be. Hey, these guys did the same thing Steve did. They got eight months. That’s what he gets. When he told me that’s not going to be his argument, I realized it was going to be more like two years. That’s when I sat my 12 year old down, and I said, “Hey, I need to talk to you.”

His was I waited. He was the last one I told. Everybody else in my life I told a lot sooner because I just thought it’d be easier to be able to ask questions or just to have them start to also get in the right mindset and become a little bit more responsible, also realize. Honestly, to enjoy their time with me more.

Justin Paperny:
Yes.

Steve Lamont:
Stuff they just didn’t take for granted. Last thing I wanted to do was go in and them go, “Well gosh I wish I knew about this. I would have actually went to you when you asked,” stuff like that.

Justin Paperny:
This is as a communicator, and speaker, the hard part of the job for me, because with many of my clients, we’re not just clients. We’re very good friends. We text. We talk personally, professionally. We’ve been through a lot together. I’m going to miss you. Certainly, we’re going to connect through core links. I’ll be waiting that invitation that will probably arrive in my spam box. I’ll be on the lookout for it. We’ll be communicating through email. Share quickly last piece of advice, a take away for a defendant watching this, as you’re about to cross over into prison boundary. Something motivational, or inspirational, or just incredibly honest, someone who’s watching this who is going down a similar road. They’re just a little bit behind you.

Steve Lamont:
Yes, one thing it’s all about preparation. One thing is you’ve got to envision this day, the day. I have to envision Monday. I’ve envisioned it many times, the drive down, the hug from my wife, and the walking into a facility that I’ve never been to before, knowing I’m going to live there with a bunch of strangers. You have to envision that. You have to kind of take ownership of that and know that that’s the end result of this process.

From there, it’s how do I make sure that my family is going to be okay, or the people that love me are going to be okay, and this isn’t going to effect them in a negative way. If you focus on those kind of things, everything kind of just takes care of itself. Everybody that I’ve come in contact with, they want to think that this is going to be a lot worse that what I think it’s going to be. That’s what I’ve chosen.

Justin Paperny:
Yep.

Steve Lamont:
It is difficult. A lot of guys facing my situation, in some of the things I faced, that weren’t fair. Those things do happen. I’m not saying we’re all 100% guilty of everything that they’re saying. There are some things that occur to you that aren’t fair through this process. If you focus on that, then you’re missing out on life. You’re missing out on the potential to be happy, to be able to prepare your family properly. That’s it. You got to embrace it. I treat this is as, this is something I get to do that a lot of people don’t. It’s an experience. It’s not the end of the world. It’s going to make me hopefully a happier, stronger person, and a more appreciative person of the things around me.

Justin Paperny:
All close with, I was meeting with a new client earlier this week. His name is Jonathan Schwartz, who was a business man out in Los Angeles. He said, “Tell me something specific that a client has said to you that has really made your day.” I immediately thought of you, because on one of our first calls, you said, “You know what Justin? Whatever prison sentence I get, I don’t want this time before I go in to be prison. I’m not in prison. I’m with my family. I’ll serve the time but I’m not going to serve it now.” I convey that message to all of you watching. I conveyed it to Jonathan who asked me, because you did that incredibly well, much better than me. The three and a half years before I went in, I was a basket case. I was a wreck. It was embarrassing. I was drinking. I was smoking. I was selfish. I was denial.

Steve Lamont:
You were a young man.

Justin Paperny:
Yeah, I was younger. I was, I was 32 but I had never dealt with any adversity in my life. I was a coddled young man. I couldn’t take a hit. Granted, you were older. You had more life experience. You haven’t been in prison this last year. I admire that. That’s a lesson for everyone watching. That’s a lesson for those of you who are embroiled in the criminal justice system, who someday may go to prison. You are not in prison today. Go out with your wife. Spend time with your children. Coach as Steve did. Speak in the community. It was so inspiring to me and to know that I played a teeny, don’t have to play it up more than I did. To know that I played a small role in that, and that I got paid to do it, is a privilege and a treat for me. Thank you for setting the example and it’s a story I will continue to share. I’ll miss you very much bud and I look forward to connecting with you on the other side.

Steve Lamont:
Alright.

Why Federal Prison Consultants Offer Different Opinions

Federal Prison Consultants Hi. I'm Justin Paperny with White Collar Advice, and today I'm going to talk about the criminal justice system's objectivity versus subjectivity, When we talk about subjectivity, we're really dealing with personal feelings, personal tastes,...

Taking Action In Federal Prison

Action in federal prison I'm in the process of writing a blog that chronicles my last day in federal prison. I also think I'm going to film a video on the subject. In fact, maybe I'll film the video, then transcribe it for my blog. Yes, that's what I'll do! I wanted...

Tucson Federal Prison Camp
5 (100%) 3 votes
Is Federal Prison Camp A Club Fed?

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

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Inside you’ll learn how to properly prepare for your sentencing hearing.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Yes, Justin please send me a free copy of Lessons From Prison NOW.

Yes, Justin please send me a free copy of Lessons From Prison NOW.

Step 1 of 2: Help us better understand where you're in your journey.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

10 Things You Have To Know If Your Husband Is Going To Prison

You have Successfully Subscribed!