The indictment for a white-collar crime is a life-altering event that changes someone’s life. It sure changed mine! For starters, doubling down helped lead to a longer prison sentence.

The ancient philosopher Plutarch once said, “To make no mistakes is not in the power of man, but from their errors and mistakes, the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.” This timeless wisdom holds especially true when facing the repercussions of a white-collar indictment. Making a mistake is one thing; compounding it by doubling down on a flawed strategy is quite another and leads to a cascade of disastrous consequences.

Emotional Responses: When I knew an indictment was coming, my emotions ran high—fear, anger, disbelief. Plutarch’s words remind us that while it is human to err, wisdom lies in learning from our mistakes. But overwhelmed by emotion, I made impulsive decisions that complicated my legal situation.

Limited Understanding of a Government Investigation: I need to be more familiar with the legal system to understand the severity of the indictment. Instead of learning from my initial error, I plunged deeper into a quagmire of poor decisions, unaware of the long-term ramifications.

Overconfidence: Confident in my innocence or persuasive abilities, I might have spoken to investigators without legal counsel. Had I heeded Plutarch’s advice, I would have acknowledged my initial mistake and sought expert advice, rather than making matters worse by speaking without representation.

Trust in the Wrong Advice: Friends and associates, while well-meaning, might need to understand the intricate nature of the system. Their advice led me astray, further solidifying the lesson that not learning from one’s mistakes can lead to more problems.

Desire to Maintain Control: The desire to take control of a spiraling situation may have compelled me to stick with my initial strategy. But as Plutarch suggests, true wisdom would have been to recognize the mistake and adapt my approach accordingly.

Financial Pressure: The illusion of minimizing costs by sticking to the original strategy resulted in significant financial burdens. More legal fees piled up, draining resources and adding more stress to an already brutal situation. Denial: The refusal to accept the reality of the indictment could have been the most damaging mistake of all. Contrary to Plutarch’s guidance, denial led me to double down to learn from our errors for a better future.

Doubling Down Leads To More Pain, Including a Longer Federal Prison Sentence

Longer Prison Term: Failing to adapt my strategy after the indictment inevitably affected the sentence. What might have been a more lenient penalty turned into a more extended period of incarceration, affecting not just me but my family as well.

Increased Legal Fees: Every wrong step after the case began required additional legal maneuvers, each adding to the cost of an already expensive process.

Pain To My Family: The compounded mistakes extended beyond legal and financial consequences. The emotional and psychological toll on my family was profound, magnifying the pain and hardship they had to endure.

Reputational Damage: The public spectacle of not only being indicted but also making matters worse through poor decisions can irreversibly damage one’s reputation, making it much harder to rebuild life after serving a federal prison sentence.

Knowing that I was a target should have led me to think more about my choices post-indictment. Plutarch’s wisdom is clear: while we cannot undo past mistakes, we have the power to learn from them and make wiser decisions for the future. Had I embraced this wisdom, I could navigate the complex legal landscape more effectively, reducing the severity of my sentence and the pain inflicted on my family.

To those in a similar predicament, remember that while committing a white-collar crime is a significant mistake, it’s even more egregious to compound it by doubling down. Taking Plutarch’s words to heart can guide you through the dark labyrinth of indictment and into a future where mistakes become stepping stones for wisdom and personal growth.

Thank you,

Justin Paperny