Would You Go To Federal Prison To Protect A Family Member?
I estimate our federal prison consulting company has prepared more than 1,000 white collar defendants for federal prison over the last decade. Our primary focus is white collar defendants.
There is no question that over the last decade many of our clients have taken a plea agreement simply to ensure their loved one would not end up in federal prison.
The federal government has an enormous amount of power. Unfortunately, when you are in the crosshairs of the criminal justice system it is very hard to emerge unscathed. It is important for people to understand that each stakeholder in the system has an agenda. For example, the prosecutor will someday become a defense attorney. They use convictions and long prison terms to help justify the bonus they will achieve in the private sector.
In one specific instance, a client was strongly considering going to trial. Hit stretched the proceedings out more than 15 months. He was adamant that he had not done anything wrong. If anything, he determined his actions should be handled civilly, not criminally.
The more he threatened to go to trial, the more incredulous the prosecutors became. They were stunned he was pushing this so far and he was not amenable to signing a plea agreement.
As it turns out, my client’s wife worked in the office as his part-time assistant. Her role was simply to send faxes, pick up the phone, pour coffee and handle other basic administrative tasks. She had absolutely no role in the company nor did she have any understanding of the day-to-day activities of the business.
Well, to pressure my client the government threatened to indict his wife. They told him they would take them both to trial and after their convictions send them both to federal prison.
That was all it took. The moment they threatened to indict and imprison his wife, he didn’t walk to take a deal: he ran.
“I’d serve life in prison before I ever let them do anything to my mother’s children. She has done nothing wrong. I will stop this now,” he told his lawyers and me.
It’s cliché when others say that everyone in person claims to be innocent. Having served time in prison, I can actually tell you that most men will admit that they were guilty. I certainly was guilty.
There are, however, instances were innocent men and women are serving time on the wrong side of prison boundaries simply because they wanted to take one for the team, so to speak.
I’d love to tell you that was an isolated situation. But it was not. Over the years I’ve seen overzealous prosecutors threaten family members to get easy and quick convictions. The truth is I never thought about the system or cared about people who were in prison until I actually went to prison. I hope to bring awareness to this wretched prison system that perpetuates failure and extinguishes hope.