Like many of the people that reach out to us, Joe Erickson felt completely out of sorts when he learned that authorities wanted to speak with him. Joe knew that he had made some bad decisions in his business. To cover up a failing venture, he submitted false invoices to a client. By abusing the client’s trust, Joe solved some short-term liquidity problems. Yet one day in 2018, Joe saw a business card from an FBI Agent with the handwritten words, “Call me.”
Joe understood that he would soon have to answer for his bad decisions.
Joe retained counsel. He told his attorney that he wanted to cooperate with authorities and do everything within his power to make things right. His attorney told Joe that the government was threatening to indict him with mail fraud and wire fraud. Joe didn’t even know what those terms meant. His attorney explained that the charges exposed him to the potential of 20 years in prison. Yet if Joe choose to plead guilty and cooperate, the attorney said he could likely coordinate a plea agreement that would lead to a five-year sentence.
Wanting to do better, Joe began doing his research. He searched for information Google and YouTube. That research led Joe to our videos. Through those videos, he learned that by being proactive, he could work to make things better.
Without talking with anyone on our team, Joe purchased our digital course to prepare for sentencing. He read through the templates and he watched the videos associated with each lesson in the course.
Then, Joe picked up the phone called Justin.
Strengths and Weaknesses:
Rather than absolving himself of all responsibility, Joe took it upon himself to learn steps that he could take to prepare for sentencing. By purchasing the sentencing-preparation course we put together, Joe learned the many options available to him. Although his attorney would likely prepare a strong legal case, Joe wanted to make a strong personal plea for leniency. Yet when he began working through the course, he realized the importance of his task. Since he’d never had previous problems with the law, Joe understood that there would be a great deal that he could not know. Despite the templates and the videos, he wanted a mitigation expert to collaborate with him in writing out his thoughts.
Joe’s strength would be in being honest. He understood that writing long-form, biological content, was a weakness.
Once Joe began working with our team, we create a deliberate strategy to help the judge get to know more about his background. Together, we agreed that Joe could help himself most if we succeeded in creating a package that would help the judge know him better. By the day of sentencing, we wanted the judge to have a great sense of Joe’s understanding of the crime and damage that he had caused. Further, we wanted the judge to get a good grasp of how others in the community perceived his character.
Our team of sentence-mitigation experts worked closely with Joe. And before the sentencing date, the U.S. Attorney offered a plea agreement for a 30-month sentence—and the U.S. Attorney asked for 30 months during the sentencing hearing.
After listening to the U.S. Attorney’s request for a 30-month sentence, and after listening to Joe’s defense attorney make a plea, the Judge listened to Joe. Before imposing the sentence, the judge told Joe that how much he appreciated the personal package that Joe submitted. The judge indicated that Joe’s package gave him a much better perspective, and the character-reference letters were among the best that he had ever received
When the Judge brought the gavel down, he surprised the U.S. Attorney, the defense attorney, and Joe by imposing home confinement rather than a term in prison.
See the accompanying text message for a full message we received from Joe Erickson.
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The image above is a screenshot from my iPhone. Joe sent me that text message after his sentencing hearing. In case it’s too small for you to read, I’m typing the message verbatim below. If you’d like to speak with Joe, I’m happy to coordinate the call.
All praise to God. They gave me probation. The US Attorney was asking the judge for 30 months.
The judge stated in court he wished he had friends like mine. He said he has read thousands of letters and nine were the best and most sincere he has ever read. Because of those letters and everything I have done since being investigated, the Judge gave me 5 years probation.
My family and I are unbelievably thankful.
I’m still being processed but maybe we can talk this week.”