Case Study: Christopher Hayes 


Born in 1985, Christopher Hayes grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. He stayed on track as a young person despite family challenges and difficult circumstances. After graduating high school, Christopher operated his own convenience store. Later, he invested in real estate while working in auto body repairs and trucking. Christopher and his wife worked hard to provide a stable, loving home for their two children. 

Then, after a serious business setback, Christopher struggled financially. In a moment of desperation, he provided fraudulent information to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) on a grant application. Christopher later pled guilty to making false statements that resulted in a $249,000 loss to the federal government.

Working with White Collar Advice

Soon after receiving his target letter, Christopher found YouTube videos from the White Collar Advice (WCA) team. “I’d never been in trouble before, so I appreciated how WCA really laid it out clearly,” said Christopher, “They helped me lower my stress and build my confidence. WCA gave me specific direction about how I could work toward a better outcome at sentencing.” Christopher listened to Justin Paperny share his personal experience of going through the federal system as a defendant. Christopher watched 20 hours of videos before contacting White Collar Advice directly. 

Christopher created his personal narrative along with Larry Hartman, a WCA team member. They engaged in lengthy discussions about Christopher’s family background. Christopher examined his unlawful actions through a lens of accountability and personal growth. Christopher described the process: “Larry helped me reflect on my life. Our conversation brought out a lot of things I’d forgotten. I felt much better after speaking with Larry. It was very therapeutic and the final document was spot-on. Also, it prepared me for the Pre-Sentence Interview.”

Christopher talked to Larry Hartman about how alcohol abuse had negatively impacted his life. The narrative included a frank assessment of Christopher’s excessive drinking and how he used alcohol to medicate stress. The narrative also gave Christopher a chance to express his deep remorse directly to the judge. In addition to creating his narrative, Christopher used his time to participate in community service activities. “I slept better each night knowing that I was doing everything I could to help myself,” said Christopher.


At the sentencing hearing, the judge stated that he’d intended to sentence Christopher to the high-end of the guidelines. The judge had planned to send a message of deterrence to others abusing the COVID-19 relief programs. “However, he gave me the lower end of the guidelines and RDAP,” remembered Christopher, “The judge said it was because of the narrative.” 

Also, WCA suggested that Christopher request to be sent to FCI Montgomery, a well-run facility with a strong Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). The judge agreed to Christopher’s request and assigned him to his preferred facility. Christopher received a 30-month sentence along with RDAP, so he might get home sooner than he thinks. 


Christopher took his case seriously and spent countless hours preparing for sentencing. He followed Justin’s advice and engaged fully with Larry Hartman to create his comprehensive personal narrative. Christopher reports that the WCA process helped him stay focused on productive activities like working with the Isaiah 5 Ministries. “I want to help people make positive change in their lives. And if somebody gets in trouble, the key is to be accountable and learn from it.”

Today, Christopher’s family is closer than ever and the future looks bright: “I’m only 35. I still have a whole life to life. Justin helped me see that this is just a blip. I’m ready to use my time in jail wisely, then come out ready to build a new career. Everything WCA teaches will benefit me when I come out. I can really see what’s important now.”