Case Study

Anthony Nelson
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Anthony survived a gunshot wound and a federal prosecution. With help from the WCA team, Anthony is focused on steps he can take to prepare for a great life after prison. The RDAP program will give him a chance to learn how to stay sober from drugs and alcohol. He’s doing whatever possible to turn this difficult moment into an opportunity for growth. 

“I feel optimistic about the future. I plan on using my computer skills to build my sneaker business. I know that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to,” Anthony said, “My talks with Brad also inspired me to use my experiences to help other people in the future. I definitely want to do that.”


Anthony Nelson grew up in Washington D.C. where he attended the prestigious Benjamin Banneker Academic High School. He marched in the Macy’s Day Parade and played football in the conference finals. Anthony helped his mother pay the bills by working at the DC Housing Authority and as a site technician for EYA Construction. Unfortunately, Anthony also struggled with substance abuse issues, particularly with “lean”—a liquid opiate mixture. 

At age 25, Anthony survived a gunshot wound he received as the victim of an armed robbery attempt. Struggling with PTSD, he moved out to Montgomery County. Anthony starting selling sneakers online while abusing “lean” to medicate his negative feelings. During this period, Anthony participated in a bank fraud conspiracy with his new acquaintances in Maryland. He later accepted responsibility and pled guilty in federal cour


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When Anthony agreed to participate in a bank fraud conspiracy, he had no idea how big it was. So, he was shocked when the story first came out in the press. “I saw all the other defendants in the newspaper and read about the whole case. I felt like my life was coming to an end. It was like I was suddenly living in another world,” Anthony recalled. 

Anthony discovered the WCA videos on YouTube a few months after his case began. He immediately felt relieved to have supportive experts in his corner. Anthony had multiple conversations with Brad Rouse over the course of many months. “I remember one conversation vividly. I was on the way to New York for a court appearance. Brad talked about his experience going through the system and how he overcame addiction. It was very helpful.”

Anthony worked with WCA to prepare a personal narrative. This letter gave him a chance to take responsibility for his actions and apologize to people he harmed. Anthony also shared his personal viewpoint so the judge could see how this case fit into his whole life story. He shared details about his substance abuse history as well as his love for his daughter. 

“I was very happy with the personal narrative. It really helped to see my whole life put together like that. I got a new perspective. I would definitely recommend this process to someone in a similar situation,” said Anthony.


Anthony arrived at his sentencing hearing expecting a prison term of 51-63 months. He brought along a statement he drafted with help from the WCA team. That statement included a heartfelt apology for violating his supervised release right before sentencing. “Having that statement gave me courage during the hearing. It made me feel like I came prepared to face everything,” Anthony recalled.

The judge complimented Anthony’s personal narrative, noting that she did not see something like that very often. She listened to Anthony’s final statement then announced her decision. Anthony received a sentence of 25 months plus acceptance into the Residential Drug Abuse Program. The judge also allowed Anthony to self-surrender after the holidays. Anthony emphasized the importance of the personal narrative: “The judge like the letter a lot. She mentioned it several times during the sentencing.”


Nate speaks openly about his legal case: “I definitely broke the law. It had a lot to do with my pride. I figured my good intentions meant I shouldn’t be punished. I learned my lesson. I have a whole new attitude about life. Thanks to Justin, I had the tools I needed to survive the system and rebuild my life. I hope my story helps other people avoid my mistakes.”


Today, Nate works for a dental consulting firm. He helps dentists across the country grow their practices in the right way. Nate and his wife run Tennessee Professional Training Institute, a Murfreesboro-based vocational school. Nate also started a men’s recovery group at his church. He enjoys more open, loving relationships with his family members and friends.


“Now that I’m sober and free, I feel great. The second half of my life will definitely be better than the first. Justin and his team walked me through the badlands when I needed help. I do a lot of service for other people who struggle the way I did. I’m working in my field again. I’m going to reapply for my dental license. My family is healthy and thriving. My best days are ahead of me for sure.”