Born in 1985, Casey is a fourth-generation roofer. After an apprenticeship at his family’s company, Casey founded his own business: Target Roofing. Casey grew his company to 220 employees serving Fort Myers and the surrounding region, especially after major hurricanes. In his free time, he coached championship youth football teams. Then, Casey used poor judgement and provided inaccurate information on a mortgage application. After he pled guilty to mortgage fraud, a jury found Casey guilty of misusing PPP funds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Casey had already spent ten months working with a legal team. Then, Casey discovered Justin Paperny’s informative and entertaining online content. Casey contacted White Collar Advice approximately one month before he went to trial. “It’s scary not knowing anything about the process,” Casey said. “Listening to Justin made me feel better. He put me in touch with other people with similar charges and circumstances. Once I knew more, the process became much easier.”
Michael Santos conducted Casey’s background interview. Casey reflected on how his unlawful actions fit into the broader context of his life story. Casey talked about alcohol abuse and his family’s history with addiction. These details helped Michael guide Casey towards the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) offered by the Bureau of Prisons. Michael Santos, who served twenty-six years in federal prison, also talked about his own personal journey. “Michael survived such a long sentence,” Casey recalled. “He had it ten times worse than me, so his positive attitude made a huge impression on me.”
Justin’s team helped prepare fourteen character reference letters to give to the judge. They called each individual reference to discuss their personal and professional memories of Casey. The letters covered Casey’s positive record of hard work and community service. “The judge brought up the letters at my sentencing hearing. He said it was clear that this case was out of character for me,” Casey said. “The judge gave me a downward departure on my sentence based on the community service work described in the letters. Also, the media in the courtroom got to hear about me from another point of view.”
The prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Casey to fifteen years in prison. Casey felt relieved when the judge gave him a three-year sentence. Casey will participate in RDAP, so that will shave a year off his prison time. Depending on how long he stays in a halfway house, Casey might end up spending less than a year in jail. Casey reflected on this positive result: “In the grand scheme, the help I got from White Collar Advice was worth four times what I paid for it. There are things my lawyer never told me, things that lawyers don’t know anything about. Why would you not get help from experienced people like Michael and Justin?”
Casey followed Justin’s advice, did the work, and prepared for his sentencing hearing. The judge gave him twelve years fewer than the prosecution requested. Thanks to the narrative and character reference letters, the judge could see the big picture. Casey had an extraordinary record to share with the judge. In addition to building a successful business, Casey had provided heroic disaster recovery relief after hurricanes in the Florida panhandle and the Bahamas. Casey had a great story to tell and it paid off.
Casey spoke to White Collar Advice six days before surrendering to federal prison: “I am ready to go to jail and optimistic about the future. I want to give back and help other people stay out of trouble. I want to use my experience and skills to make a difference in the lives of others.”