In 2006 I was in the process of leaving a company that was in shambles. I was hired on as a jack of all trades, but before I got there they made lots of mistakes. I decided after years of working for other people I'd work for myself. For the sake of convenience and to protect my identity we'll what I did buying and selling wholesale products (which it basically was). I had done this legitmiately for years.

At this same time, I had recently gotten married and just had found out that my mother's cancer came back a second time. My Dad would complain to me on the phone that my mother couldn't get chemotherapy because the insurance companies wouldn't allow treatment without a particular test to be complete, but the company wouldn't authorize the test. Each time she was supposed to get chemotherapy it was a battle. It created undue stress, and on top of it the insurance would only pay for some of the medical expenses. My Dad had left cross country as a self-employed computer programmer who had to take a nearly 50,000 pay cut to work as an employee for a company that would provide insurance for my mother, so they were cash strapped as well.

I was just newly married. I had just started a business, after leaving another company. A good friend of mine recommended a way to defraud very large companies. It basically amounted to a modified ponzu scheme. We'd work with them for a bit with small credit terms, we'd work with them and extend credit terms until we couldn't extend them anymore, and then bounce without paying the last bill which would be huge compared to the ones we paid.

Obviously, unethical - but at the time I didn't really mind. In the industry that I was involved in it was EXTREMELY common for companies to do this. I worked at a medium sized company in this industry and not only did we benefit from individuals that did this and sold the goods and incredibly low rates, we were hurt by companies that did this to us - so I was very familiar with this process. Typically, insurance covers the losses once it has been identified as fraud. There isn't much consumer damage. I got paid. I justified it. It gave me money that I needed. I was able to give my parents the tens of thousands of dollars that they needed. I was able to arrange travel visits for my mother during the last leg of her cancer that would otherwise been unaffordable so she could see everyone she wanted to see before her passing.

I got caught. The funny part is that I got caught after me and my co-defendant decided not to do it anymore. I pleaded guilty, and got sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in federal prison.

In case you are wondering - my mom passed, my wife and I are divorced, and I'm pretty much broke. So if you feel like I'm an asshole and got what I deserved, well it pretty much did.

I'm here to answer questions about what life is like for a white collar criminal in jail, after jail, and what life is like after the arrest waiting to be sentenced (my case was over 2 years+ long).

Proof:

Here is the badge for the 1/2 way house which I had to report to for 30 days after I got released twice a week. http://i.imgur.com/UUrb86Z.jpg

Here is the 1st page of my judgement indicating that I owe a $100 special assessment. (That's basically a fee for every count that you have against you - not restitution. That's different. I owe about $2Million): http://i.imgur.com/9mtPK91.jpg

The 2nd page of my judgement indicating my imprisonment: http://i.imgur.com/9YgjpY4.jpg

Online reporting for probation: http://i.imgur.com/RxHeOzr.png

AMA.

EDIT: I forgot the most important thing. This is the the link to the petition for MDC Brooklyn. If you feel after reading this AMA that even though these guys are prisoners they shouldn't be treated like animals please go ahead and sign the petition and share it as much as you can. Thanks.

https://www.change.org/petitions/congress-u-s-sentencing-commission-fbop-director-charles-samuels-jr-treat-federal-u-s-prisoners-correctly-according-to-sec-classifications

Comments: 379 • Responses: 105  • Date: 

BossCalzone39 karma

as a budding white collar man with crime in my blood, its often my biggest fear that a man like myself would be jailed and not make it a day in prison, but you made it times 366. impressive work my man

question is, how did a man like you survive? how did you pass the time? are you a hardened badass after this or are you the same guy you were before?

beentojail51 karma

I'm definitely not the same guy I was before. I was not a bad ass before, nor am I a bad ass now. You learn to do what you need to do to survive. I also had lots of luck. In this case it was because who I met, and how quickly I met them. I didn't plan it to be this way but it worked out.

I got sentenced to MDC Brooklyn. I self-surrendered, and on your 1st day - whether you are taken straight from court of whether you self-surrender later you go to intake. In this case it was G41 at MDC. I'm Indian, and I'm 5'4". I had manage to bring my weight up to 212 pounds at the time I went to jail. I figured the fatter - the better (no one would want a rape a fat ugly dude, right?). I'm not exactly that intimidating, but because I was Indian in a sea of mostly black, hispanic, and white inmates there were two dudes that were from Yemen (american citizens) that were there for a really stupid drug charge. When you are not white, black, or hispanic you are considered an "other", and "others" stick together.

After all 3 of us ended up leaving g41 to become Cadres. These two guys ended up being friends with another Yemeni guy that was there. I happened to be told to bunk close to them (we lived in one big 100+ person room). They were all Muslim. I'm an agnostic. You wouldn't think that those two differences would actually help people come together, but it was a topic for discussion a lot. Basically, me and this new Yemeni guy became very, very close friends. He was Muslim, remind you...and in prison being Muslim means you are pretty much in a gang.

There are a ton of "fake" black muslims in prison where they join the religion simply to gain protection. Because of my lucky friendship with this guy who had LOTS of respect from fellow prison Muslims my time there was easier than it would have been.

BossCalzone18 karma

fascinating stuff. so you became pals with a well respected leader of a group. were there ever any faction wars? did you ever have to get physical? or did your friendship absolve you of any problems that may have come up?

beentojail40 karma

There were LOTS of close calls, particularly with 3 separate individuals. Two of whom I later became decent friends with, one of whom I had multiple altercations with - starting with an egg.

So, here's a quick story.

I work in the unit kitchen. That means it's my job to receive the food cart that comes, put it in the freezer, and do small preparation activity like putting water on the frozen rice and vegetables - draining the mashed potatoes so they are not soggy. We are the 3rd and final cadre group, which means on the list we are the last cadre food cart to get filled up - which means many times we get shafted. If there isn't enough of something, we get less of it - it makes my job very hard.

On top of this they post the menu ahead of time including the quantities of what you will receive. We were supposed to receive two trays of eggs, we received only 1. Only 1 egg was given out to all inmates. This guy barged into the kitchen threatening to beat me up if I didn't give him is egg. I argued and told him if he had a problem with it he could write me up (in essence inviting him to snitch - which is a big no no, it's an insult saying that you can't take care of your own problems). The guard got involved and broke us up. Ever since then he had a problem with me. He was Muslim. He went to the Imam of the 3 cadre units and told him that they had to "take me out". The Imam called all of the muslims and that's when my friend stuck up for me and told them if any muslim touched me he would have to fight him.

In essence he would start an internal Muslim violent battle if anyone touched me. He basically saved my ass. Literally and figuratively. I didn't know he did this until days later. We remain good friends. Frankly though - you have to be willing to get beat up. In the beginning I wasn't. I got picked on, I got stuff stolen, and treated like shit. It's kind of like high school - once you stand up for yourself, they'll leave you alone. The problem is that you can't be sure you will survive the incident. There are lots of people that are simply bored with the everyday monotony - especially the guys that are in for 20+ years. They don't see a light at the end of the tunnel, and they are the ones that slash your face with a razor blade because you looked at them wrong.

BossCalzone12 karma

jesus fucking christ. your buddy really had your back huh? thats incredible. i cant believe he was powerful enough to make them back down (though they were riled up over something ridiculously petty)

so whats your pals deal? you say you remain friends, but is he out too or is he still on the outside? what was his exact drug charge and when will he be out? i hope you guys can be like andy and red

beentojail18 karma

He wasn't in on a drug charge. He transported cigarettes from Virginia where the cigarette sales tax is negligible (or not existent, I don't remember) to New York. He got 2 years. He should be out in a few weeks. I hope to see him when he no longer has to report to the half way house.

gromtown8 karma

that better have been a shitload of cigarettes. i know people who do this currently but only a relatively small scale (few cartons at a time).

beentojail24 karma

Yes, it was like $700k worth of cigarettes.

beentojail9 karma

I just wanted to reply again to you to add that you should tell your friends that are doing this they should be careful - and frankly, they should stop. Certain states are working with the FBI and ATF on a ton of sting operations where they try to get these smaller guys to start buying bigger in bulk. They work with Marlboro themselves to get the inventory, and convince these "smaller" guys to get bigger.

How do I know this? I read the indictments and appeals that stated the evidence the government used to convict people and this information is disclosed in the paperwork. So, if they are doing it - tell them to be very careful and trust no one. They are really targeting people that are doing that now, and have been for a few years.

slaughter_house52 karma

I think I might have heard about this. I'm not sure if it was the same person but a read something about a Muslim teen whose father and one of his father's friends, both Muslim, were arrested in New York for the same thing. It was some article about middle eastern immigrants I think. Sorry about the vagueness.

beentojail3 karma

This guy didn't involve his kids. His kids weren't even in the country at the time, but it isn't uncommon. The thing is that many gas station owners just happen to be Muslim and so they become a target for people trying to off-load these cigarettes which is why there are so many muslims involved in this particular type of illegality. They know what they are doing, but they view it as a victimless crime - which in many respects it is.

ponscremator2 karma

I had a similar question about simple survival. I'm 6' but close to 185...and not ugly (unfortunate if I ever go to prison). Your resident card states that you're about 138, which is TINY...inside or out of prison. Good thinking to fatten up before you go in...do you have stretch marks from the weight loss?

And another more specific question: you were getting large amounts of money and simply not paying it back? How were you not denied credit in the future? Did you just keep switching the name of your company?

beentojail5 karma

I was about 135 at 5'4" before I was arrested. I ballooned up to 212, and lost most of it and ended up at 138 by the time I left MDC and went to the half way house. Yes - I have stretch marks. I haven't been able to get rid of them yet. I've tried all coconut and Vitamin E stuff. So far nothing has worked. I'm seriously thinking about getting the creams they make for pregnant women.

And another more specific question: you were getting large amounts of money and simply not paying it back?

I can't give the exact details because with the information that I've disclosed those details would allow anyone to easily search for that and identify me, and some of the things I've said here I really don't want people to know. What I can tell you is that I basically bought a product on credit, and paid it back and then continually always increased my credit terms and increased the size of business until the credit term was huge and then I increase of the size of business going past the credit term until I get cut off, and then do it again.

ponscremator2 karma

You might try Shea butter? And diet/exercise can help a bit.

I get that you want to keep your identity secret, wise. You likened it to a Ponzi scheme though, it would seem that in order to increase your credit it would take awhile for it to work.

beentojail2 karma

/u/carputt basically has it right. It doesn't take long to increase credit. In most cases we are talking about 2 weeks to 1 month for each credit increase, so in 4 months you have what you need. In the beginning you start with a credit limit of 7 net 5. So that means you sell the product on credit for 7 days, and then you are billed for those 7 days, and you have 5 days to pay that money back. The maximum liability is 12 days of credit. You beef that up to 60 net 60 which means that you have credit for 60 days, you are billed for those 60 days and you have 60 days to repay it giving you a maximum liability of 120 days.

The way other schemes worked is by doing it for years, building massive amounts of credits against a company, but that can actually bankrupt companies and we didn't want that to happen. My case is considered low for the industry, in other cases the damage was in the range of $15-30$ Million, and took hundreds of thousands of dollars of capital for those guys just to start the scheme. We didn't do it the way other companies did.

We were doing something to get a "bit" rich, but not "filthy fucking" rich. Some people aren't going to get that...but I don't know how else to articulate it.

pneuma882831 karma

Obviously two million in restitution is completely out of reach. How is that realistically going to work?

beentojail39 karma

Realistically, I give $500 a month to the government right now. If I didn't I would end up back in jail. After my probation is done, I will try an renegotiate a settlement. My credit is absolutely fucked now anyway. Due to this case, I already have a foreclosure on my record. Once my probation is done the collection matter is purely civil. I could just ignore it and not rely on credit. I could leave the country and start over, I could renegotiate, or I could pay it off. I haven't decided what I'm really going to do yet.

pneuma88285 karma

If you do decide to ignore it, after 7 years it goes away. Keep your credit otherwise clean and a decade from now things will look a lot different.

beentojail17 karma

From my understanding any government lien or judgement stays on for life - just like if you owed back taxes. You owe them for life. That's an exception, just like student loans - you can't discharge those either. That's on there for life.

ThisIsAWorkAccount5 karma

Is bankruptcy and option?

beentojail26 karma

No. You can never discharge a lien or a judgement from the government (even the IRS).

ICE_IS_A_MYTH13 karma

Can you take out a ton of credit cards, pay the government with that, then declare bankruptcy for the credit card debt?

beentojail24 karma

Technically, you would have to buy products and resell them and give the government money orders. You can not pay the government with credit cards, but yes you can do it.

benderunit90001 karma

you can always "die"

beentojail1 karma

True, but that probably would defeat the purpose of trying to discharge your debt.

BossCalzone29 karma

side note: with the amount of prison amas we get on here (not that too many is a bad thing, theyre all pretty fascinating), im shocked that this is the first time /u/beentojail has been used

beentojail22 karma

me too.

captainkleenex26 karma

Were you treated any differently to the more hardened criminals who were in prison for physical crimes?

beentojail39 karma

It depends when would want to know that. The first 2 days I was in g41 - which is intake. I was with a crack dealer who was also there for firearm possession. There were also people that in my unit that were there for violent crimes like attempted murder and assault. We are treated exactly the same.

After that I was taken to be a cadre. Basically, I need to work for the prison. Typically only non-violent inmates are supposed to be housed in the cadre groups, but remember this is based on this history of your convictions and your activity in jail. Even if you killed someone before but you were never caught, you are treated like a non-violent criminal. There is also a time period against this point system that the federal government uses. For example, I was with an individual that came to jail a second time. The 1st time he did 25 years for 2nd degree murder. Now, he's back for selling drugs, yet people that committed mortgage fraud slept right next to him.

Since we are cadres we are treated differently then "pre-trialers". MDC is mostly a holding facility. Out of ~3k inmates, 300 are cadres. We run the prison - taking care of bathroom facilities, cooking, etc...So cadres are treated differently from pre-trialers because guards actually have to work WITH us to get their job done. That's not to say there aren't dick guards - but most of them realize they can make their life and our life easier if they just leave us alone.

JackSixxx23 karma

How was your last day in prison? (Besides doing paperwork... I guess).

beentojail32 karma

The last day in prison starts the night before. I worked in the unit kitchen and my good buddy worked in the main kitchen for the entire prison, so for a few weeks ahead of time we got cake batter, peppers, and things you normally can't get up in our unit. These are things that are meant typically for the guards. We cooked in our unit. (We make sure there is a guard that allows us to use the unit kitchen during non-meal times). We ate. There is a religious room meant to for religious teachings. There TV as a DVD player in it. We got some DVDs that are typically meant for the recreation department and watched a few movies. Talked for hours. I got ready the next morning, took a shower, and waited for my name to be called. And waited, and waited, and waited while my friends hung out with me until I left.

_Game_of_Trolls_13 karma

Are you still in touch with your friend?

beentojail21 karma

Yes.

frimframsc221 karma

What is the first thing you did when you got out?

beentojail68 karma

I went to McDonalds and get two burgers, with fries and a coke. I also had my friend pick me up a pack of Marlboro Lights. As soon as I got back to my house I got drunk as fuck with 2 of my buddies and called people to let them know I was back.

pyrochyde6 karma

Then you scored some prostitutes?

beentojail28 karma

I got a "massage".

immorta116 karma

How true are the stories about rape, stabbing and gangs in prison? Did you witness any of that?

beentojail23 karma

I witness fights and slashing but no rapes. Remember that I was a cadre in a federal prison that housed mostly pre-trialers. We interacted with other cadres. pre-trialers aren't sentenced and they have no point value so they can be anyone from a murderer to a someone that lied on their loan application. Cadres are sentenced inmates that typically have less than 10 years left on their sentence. In the prison world anything under 5 years is considered a "short" sentence.

Violence among cadres was mostly done with fists or razor blades.

Champ_12 karma

What was your typical day like in federal prison?

beentojail32 karma

My typical day starts around 7:30am when the "counselors" comes in and warns us that our bed should be made and our uniforms should be on. In prison, the beds are ALWAYS made. We sleep on top of our beds. I try to see her mood. If I look up and I see her with gloves on, I know she is going to search for things and I needed to get my shit together. If she was staying in her room I slept until 8:50 a.m. (I bought a watch on commissary that cost me about $50, but in radio shack I could probably get for $5).

I change my clothes, take a shit, brush my teeth, wash my hands and wait for the food cart to arrive (I worked in the unit kitchen). I would prepare the food for 11 a.m. service. While I put the food in, I'd grab some food from my bin put on my headphones and watch TV, or read a book, or find someone to play chess with. In prison there is no audio for any of the main TVs - you can only listen to TV if you have a radio. Each TV (spanish TV, Caucasian TV, black TV) goes to a different radio station. You have to buy that on commissary for $35-50 (I don't remember now because I bought it 2nd hand - which is against the rules, actually). The 1st day I became a cadre I made a mistake. I owed someone money because I wanted a headset to listen to TV. Luckily, the guy was cool about it and I paid him back the second I got my commissary.

At 11 a.m. I served lunch. I cleaned up the kitchen and took a nap. I would sleep until about 2 pm when the dinner cart would arrive. I'd prepare the food and make sure it goes in at 3pm to be ready for a 4:30 dinner service. I'd serve dinner, and then get ready to work out. An inmate organized step class. This is where I dropped down from 212lbs to 138 lbs. I went to step class 3 days a week. After step class I start working out with weights, but we aren't allowed to work out in federal prison. We don't have weights - only state prisons have those. So we use water and clothes (we make water bags) and use the broom handles as the bar and lift.

After that I showered. Then I ate. We have recall at 9:30 (which means go back to your bunk) and count at 10 p.m. After that I'd watch TV, play chess, talk, with friends - read a book, etc...and do that the next day.

The_closest_of_calls7 karma

[deleted]

beentojail17 karma

The Zimmerman Act actually states that it is illegal for any federal prison to provide:

(vii) any instruction (live or through broadcasts) or training equipment for boxing, wrestling, judo, karate, or other martial art, or any bodybuilding or weightlifting equipment of any sort;

However, older facilities that have them and those machines have been grandfathered in. Some wardens allowed them to continue, but they can't order the repair of those machines, or order new ones. So typically, when something is broke you ask a nice guard to let you fix it if you are an inmate welder or whatever it is that you can do to fix the equipment.

If you are curious, here is the full text of the law.

FissurePrice3 karma

What do you mean you sleep on top? You don't use any kind of cover at all?

beentojail10 karma

We have a blanket on top of us, but underneath the bed is perfectly and immaculately made.

FissurePrice2 karma

So underneath there is another blanket?

beentojail7 karma

Basically, your bed looks like this, and you just have another blanket on top of you when you go to bed. You fold that blanket and put it at the foot of your bed when you are not sleeping in it.

diewrecked7 karma

It's like military basic training.

beentojail10 karma

I've had inmates that were ex-soldiers compare it as such.

hattmall12 karma

Is what you did illegal because it was your intention, what if your business just ended up sucking. I know lots of people that run similar operations with restaurants, mainly Chinese buffets, and seem to have no problem not getting in trouble, they just close the business and start a new one, then use the same food distributors over again.

beentojail20 karma

It's because they were able to prove that the intent was not to pay the final bill, and used fraudulent means to convince companies that we were legitimate.

AboveTheBears11 karma

Did you notice alot of inmates that had mental disorders?

beentojail25 karma

Yes. That is exactly where people got narcotics from. The federal system doesn't have things like vicodin but they've got other stuff that people like that need, including anti-depressants and the like. There were a TON of people that needed these types of drugs.

In addition to sanitation, and working in the kitchen for about 3 months I worked as a suicide companion, which is the highest paid job in the prison ($1.00) and the only one that is completely voluntary. Your job is to stare at people that have been deemed a danger to themselves. Whether or not these people were suicidal before is irrelevant, because once you end up in suicide watch you are probably suicidal now. That place is horrible and it is insane to me that they put people with mental disorders there.

Suicide watch is basically a room where you don't wear regular clothes. You were this cloth thing that kind of looks like a broken bomb suit. You have no tv, no radio, no books, no pencils, no paper. You don't even have a mattress - regular inmates had mattresses that were about an inch thick, these guys had ones that were literally 1/3rd the size of that on a steel frame. In that room you don't have any windows - just cement. One smaller mirror that is built in the wall, a sink, and a toliet. You are in there for 24/7 until you are allowed out.

The people that are real crazy are drugged until they basically pass out. We have had people that have pissed on the floor trying to reach us (outside the door). We have these "urine stoppers" to place in front of the door that will prevent urine and shit from coming through the doors if the person tries that.

These people can't even shit without asking us for toliet paper. We have to allot how much they get per shit. If they get too much they could choke on it or block the window which will not allow us to see if they are trying to hurt themselves.

One guy slammed his head into the suicide watch door so hard that the window which is literally more than 1/2" an inch thick cracked before he went down.

Besides the $1 an hour, I did it because it got me out of the unit but it worse than being stuck in my unit. The place where I would watch them was the psychiatric unit. There people are literally talking to themselves, drooling on themselves, shouting things for no reason, and that is the unit you have to stay at while you are watching the suicide inmates in the hallway.

So yeah, I've seen some shit.

Bite_It_You_Scum5 karma

It's called the Barney suit.

beentojail16 karma

I tried googling it - but NPH and PBS didn't make that easy.

GanjaDragon4 karma

Do you get to talk to the people on suicide watch? Were any of them sane and had some good stories or something?

beentojail7 karma

Most were actually sane prisoners that were there because of policy. If an inmate tells a guard he thinks his bunkmate is suicidal he'll immediately end up in suicide watch. If you answer "yes" to the question "Are you depressed", when a psych person visits they can put you there. There were more normal people there than crazies. Some people are nuts. There were people that would swallow batteries and other objects for no reason. We couldn't even give me a plastic fork like regular inmates use - he had use his hands.

Some of them talked about their case when they were talkative. My shift was from 6pm to 2 am so most of the suicide watch inmates were drugged pretty heavily so there were only a few hours when they were actually conscious enough to talk articulately. I talked to this guy who was white who had 2 black dudes rape him. He was really suicidal. He was a pre-trialer and he wasn't even sentenced yet, and he genuinely needed help. He didn't get any though, just pills to make him pass out until he answered the right questions to get out of S/W and back to his cell.

destroyedcontroller9 karma

Are you glad you did what you did to help your mother when she was in need? And do you regret losing everything because of doing it?

beentojail24 karma

I regret what I did, and I'll be honest. I regret more that I got lazy and got caught. IMO, what I did was obviously wrong - but did it warrant jail time? I don't think so. Frankly, the actions don't hurt the companies that were defrauded, and it hurts the government because of the record I'm no longer contributing much to federal and state tax revenue (whereas before I used to pay an average of $20-$50k a year in federal taxes).

The government spent millions on the case. About $40k imprisoning me, and so far they've got back $2500. I don't see the point.

Back to the ethical question - I still regret it. I've lost my house, my wife, and a lot of my will to actually do much of anything. What I wish I did instead was find a way to cover my mother's health costs legally, but frankly I wasn't in the right state of mind to think about the consequences. I never thought I'd get caught. Nothing bad ever really happened to me. I was even in denial that my mother would die when her cancer spread. It was like a surreal experience. I didn't actually believe this was happening to me.

extraperson19887 karma

How much did you make? If you paid $50k a year in federal taxes, as a married man with dependents, that means you made less than $250k a year?

beentojail10 karma

It was closer to $300,000.

allenahansen10 karma

With an income like that, and supposing your mother wasn't old enough to qualify for Medicare (or impoverished enough for Medicaid) why did you not simply buy her an insurance policy? Even a high deductible one would have only set you back four or low-five figures. Something is fishy here.

If this was truly your reason for stealing, the ACA should help keep others from becoming trapped in this nightmare scenario. Good luck to you, OP. Thanks for the AMA.

beentojail10 karma

I didn't have that income to begin with. I participated in the scheme to obtain that income.

hicow8 karma

I'm with you there - dude's making 300k a year and can't buy mom insurance? Dad takes a 50k pay cut to get a job that provided insurance, instead of just buying insurance?

Shit, if I took a 50k pay cut, I'd be paying my employer. Must be different for the wealthy.

beentojail5 karma

He couldn't even GET insurance if he spent $50k. I explained the details here.

greenriver5728 karma

Were you in a "white collar prison"; or a maximum federal facility? If the later; which department of the prison were you placed in (high risk/low risk/etc.)?

beentojail6 karma

I was placed in MDC Brooklyn. It is considered a holding facility. I was placed there because my sentence was under 5 years, and it was close to my home. It is technically considered a camp, but most people (myself included) don't get to go outside at all. I didn't set foot outside at all for the entire time I was there. The reason it is called a holding facility is because it mostly holds pre-trialers that haven't been sentenced yet. After intake I was sent to be a cadre - which basically meant I worked for the prison.

MDC actually can serve ALL security levels - from camp, low, medium, high, and maximum. I was in the "camp". But it's not a camp like you think about - hence the petition.

ICE_IS_A_MYTH6 karma

Zero time outside? That doesn't even sound legal..

beentojail20 karma

You'd be amazed about how much stuff inside a federal prison is legal but not legal on the outside. For example, did you know much of the electrical and plumbing is done by federal cadre inmates who are not licensed to perform that work, and if they tell you work there you are REQUIRED to work there or go to the SHU.

The chicken that we got to eat was marked "not suitable for human consumption". There are so few regulations on how to treat federal inmates. There are a bunch of BOP policies, but very few regulations.

FissurePrice4 karma

You never even got to go into a yard? wtf...

beentojail6 karma

Nope. At MDC there is no yard. It's a Metropolitan Detention Center. It's in middle of Brooklyn. There are guys that have been stuck like that for 6+ years in my unit. He hasn't been outside and he's there because of an SEC violation.

FissurePrice3 karma

That is cray cray.

beentojail2 karma

apeeezzy2 karma

what does mdc stand for?

beentojail2 karma

Metropolitan Detention Center.

huachaos7 karma

Why the Federal charge? Your indictment states wire fraud so I'm assuming that you crossed statelines, used the mail or other devices that fall under the "wire" term.

Although a crime is a crime, not all are equal. Seems like you got shafted. Did you use an appointed or your own legal representation. Was your sentancing part of a plea deal or did you fight all the way?

beentojail14 karma

I didn't fight at all. I didn't fight it because I knew I couldn't win. The federal conviction rate is 95%. That don't take cases to court they knew they can't win. It's not like State. The charge was because the communication to the vendors was done over the internet and phone. Because we misrepresented our intentions, it was fraud - and committing fraud over telephonic lines is considered "wire" fraud.

I had a private attorney. I was looking at 7 counts - 140 years MAX. I negotiated down to a year, and did 10 months in prison, 1 month at home, and 3 years probation. My co-defendant didn't co-operate as much and got 3 years although he was doing it a lot longer than I did.

huachaos3 karma

Thanks for the reply. So, do you feel that the punishment equaled the crime in your case?

beentojail19 karma

No. IMO, jail should only be a place for violent criminals or non-violent repeat offenders. The US has the largest prison population per capita. Locking people up doesn't solve anything. In fact, it just creates a whole host of problems - not just for the individual, but to society.

Rebellion1117 karma

If they didn't send you to jail, what do you think would be the penalty for your crimes? Do you think you should be allowed to choose between jail time or another monetary penalty?

beentojail15 karma

There is no reason why I shouldn't have been punished, but if my punishment could have bettered the lives of people why wouldn't the government make that a priority? With the computer skills I possess I am sure I could have taught classes to certify otherwise unskilled poor unemployed individuals computers skills such as MS Office, or the basics of web design & development.

Why not put the skills of white collar criminals to use for the community? As a punishment jail time should be kept to a minimum. Frankly, the process was more agonizing than prison life itself.

cbartlett6 karma

Did you have a period out on bail before you reported to prison? Like in the movie 25th Hour, he had time to get his affairs in order. I don't think I'd even survive a time like that, I would die from anxiety.

Edit: Prison not jail. They are different.

beentojail7 karma

I was arrested, and then I made bail. It was about 2 years from the day that I was arrested and then sentenced. I then had 4 months before I reported to jail.

Mentally, those 4 months were worse than the 10 months I spent in federal prison. I seriously thought I was going to go prison, get raped and die. I treated my body like absolute shit, and treated everyone around me the same way (well, not everyone - just some people). I didn't think I was honestly going to come back.

sdfsdfsfasdvafdvdvdf6 karma

DO you prefer iOS 7 or iOS6? If 7, are you upset you cannot switch back?

beentojail12 karma

I prefer iOS7. There are some things that I disagree with, and there are times I think the parts of the design is not as intuitive as I expect with Apple, but overall it makes sense and it's a welcome change.

The_Sloppy_Tugger6 karma

What was the craziest shit you saw?

beentojail11 karma

The craziest shit I saw was someone slicing someone's face with a razor blade because he didn't ask permission to change the TV channel. Granted those two had beef for a while, but it was still kind of unexpected.

JackSixxx6 karma

One more thing: how much do movies distort the portrayal of life in prison from the actual life in prison?

beentojail18 karma

Orange is the New Black is surprisingly accurate (at least the 1st few episodes). Obviously, I'm male so I can't say much women have sex in prison, but some of it is quite accurate.

You've got good guards, and you've got shitty guards. You have people that want to cover up everything bad that happens in prison. For example, in my prison MDC a female prison guard had sex with an inmate and got pregnant

During intake cadres were the ones that were called whenever an inmate got rowdy during intake and the guards had to "discipline" him - meaning, beat the shit out of him and cadres have to go and clean up the blood. That happens frequently.

The movies get a lot of things right. It's easy to smuggle just about anything at MDC. Personally, for myself I got K2 on the regular, but I know people that would get OxyCoton, diet pills, coke, heroin, weed, cigarettes, alcohol, phones, and weapons.

They movies just exaggerate the frequency of these occurrences.

ajrg6 karma

I have a 1 million dollar restitution and spent 1 year 8 months in a federal prison for women. I would love to see the answers you got. If any should be sent to me I am available. [email protected]

beentojail36 karma

Feel free to PM me. If I were you, I'd remove your email address from here though.

bubblesquirtle5 karma

What did you do for fun while you were in the slammer?

beentojail8 karma

Read books, watch TV, talk, watch movies, play chess, play scrabble, cook (ever see Godfellas? It's kind of like that but without the lobster), work out, and sleep. You do A LOT of fucking sleeping. I used to buy sleeping pills so I could sleep as much as possible. (obviously they didn't sell it in commissary - it was someone else's medication).

isteek5 karma

how did you get busted?

beentojail8 karma

I got lazy. We both wanted to end this thing and we decided not to do the work and start a new company. We just wanted to this one last time to satisfy other people that were egging us on (prior commitments) and to end it. That company was a bit hot. One company called the FBI to say they think something is fishy going on. They triangulated where I was from the cell towers (even though I used burners). There were times where Tor wouldn't work so I sent emails with my regular IP (I know. Dumb), and so they were able to match the IP as well.

mykerock5 karma

You weigh 138 lbs? Are you lil wayne or were you starved in prison?

beentojail3 karma

I was 135 before I was arrested. I'm only 5'4". I ballooned up to 212 before I self-surrendered. By the time I got out I dropped down to 138.

uscdtrb5 karma

Gonna go a different route with questioning.

What was the best part about being in prison?

Also, what are the biggest takeaways you have now leaving?

beentojail11 karma

Everyone has a story, and who gets prison time is incredibly unfair and unjust.

A heroin dealer was one of my closest friends there. Once you live around people it's makes things a lot easier to understand. For example, many people may know that crack had a crazy mandatory minimum compared to coke. I think it was like 7 or 8 times as much. Coke being watch white people typically used, and crack being what black people typically used.

What many people don't know is that the new law that Obama passed changes that for the future, but people that are in jail now and have been for a decade (or more), are still going to be sitting in jail for their entire sentence because the law is not retroactive. That's incredibly unfair and unjust.

It's just one example, but that's one thing I learned. Granted, I've also suspected it to be this way, but now it's solidified my opinion after seeing it first hand.

FrattingtonBear4 karma

Imagine that. Caused bc of our shit medical system.

beentojail16 karma

Yup. In the interest of being completely honest (as is the point of any AMA). I will say that initially it was done out of a need. After my mom passed I went "all out". I could have stopped. I chose not too. Had my mother not had any medical issues at all, would I have done it? Probably not - but I don't want to lie and say that I did it 100% because of insurance issue. It was definitely the factor in the beginning, but I continued at the end out of pure greed.

silencegold4 karma

[deleted]

beentojail17 karma

We all had individual showers. Things started to change in federal prison when some of the rich started getting sent there and they started complaining to politicians. For example, the rape rate in federal prison is much lower than state prison.

SMB734 karma

Was federal prison what you had imagined it to be?

And how exactly do they expect you to pay this $2 million debt? I'd imagine what jobs you will be able to find isn't going to pay well.

beentojail8 karma

It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. My only exposure to jail was OZ. When I first went to jail I was stuck intake (but for only 2 days), and it looks exactly how OZ looks.

When most people think of prison they think of this, but the reality is that it looks like this.

I expected people to immediately start to intimidate me. Actually, most people left me alone. Perhaps it was the fact that I am brown and they thought I was Muslim. (I mentioned earlier that being a Muslim automatically placed you in a protective group as being a Muslim is pretty much like being in a gang).

I expected Federal Prison to be like State Prison, because all the stories I've ever heard (or news reports) were from state prison. In federal prison there are no work areas, there are no weights - in some prisons you are not even allowed to do a push up. In my prison there was no yard. I never went outside. There are supposed to let 25 people go every saturday outside in the middle of basically a parking lot, but they never pick anyone up anymore - and they haven't in over a year (while I was there anyway). That's actually one of the things in the petition.

I was only in a cell for 2 days then I got moved into a Cadre Unit. This meant that I had a 100+ guys living in one room that contained 100 beds, 3 computers, a kitchen (only open for service hours), 6 toilets, 6 showers, one religious room, and one TV room (that can fit about 12-15 people). That's were I spent 99% of my time since I worked in the unit kitchen - so I never left the unit. Some people that worked as plumbers or electricians at least go to walk around the prison, and get some activity.

Since there was no outside, there was an inside "track" if you can call it that. It's basically a large room with tiles were people round around like they are crazy, with 3 gym-bikes, and a ton of Reebok Steps which we repurposed to help get us in shape. Since we don't have weights, we made our own. State is much different. In some state prisons you can get play stations and TVs in commissary. In federal prison the best thing you can buy is a $70 2 GB MP3 player.

Richard0154 karma

Are there any meditation classes available in prison or do you see people meditating? Vipassana meditation is being trialed in Indian prisons with great success. I would imagine that would be the perfect way to pass the time.

beentojail5 karma

The prison relies on volunteers. There was one non-inmate private civilian volunteer that taught both the women and men inmates (at separate times) yoga but no meditation classes that I am aware of. Even then the classes would be a few hours a week at most.

schlink023 karma

[deleted]

beentojail3 karma

Website design and development, and no - I will never do it again. I had actually already stopped months before I ever got arrested.

jacketBlue3 karma

What are the details with the relationship with your wife? How did you tell her/she find out? What terms are you on now? How long were you married?

beentojail8 karma

She knew exactly what I was doing when I was doing it. I didn't hide anything from her. In fact, for a few years she did my books. I protected her during the investigation, however. She decided she wanted a divorce - we are in the midst of separating.

jacketBlue7 karma

I'm sorry to hear that. I don't know you but you seem like a good guy, from your comments. I hope everything turns out for you.

beentojail7 karma

Thanks. I appreciate that.

bubblesquirtle3 karma

How do you plan on repaying the 2 million dollars? What kind of job are you going to get?

beentojail8 karma

I don't. Right now I'm just design websites for small companies and individuals. I pay $500 a month to the federal government because if I don't they'll send me to jail. After my probation is completed that restitution becomes a civil issue and although it stays on my credit and they can seize assets if I become rich, they can't ever send me back to jail for non-payment.

Most white collar criminals simply live under the radar and put their assets in trusts, in c-corporations, and holding companies so civil and criminal judgements can't touch the money they make.

ARoundForEveryone2 karma

Do you plan on making payments after it has become a civil issue only? Or do you plan on bailing out and not living up to your end of the conviction?

I know that might sound harsh, but I couldn't think of a better way to word it.

beentojail3 karma

I am actually hoping to renegotiate on the basis of not having the ability to pay, and lowering the amount to something more manageable. If I can't do that then no, I don't plan to continue simply making monthly payments. Typically, if the judge is realistic he will ask the companies for permission. If they disagree they know that they'll end up not seeing a dime so many times if they are being realistic they will agree to see some money as opposed to nothing.

hansjens473 karma

As someone who's seen the inside of the prison system, do you feel there's a disconnect between the punishment for crime perpetrated on the internet and violent crime?

In your opinion, do punishments usually stand in relation to the severity of the crime?

beentojail18 karma

In your opinion, do punishments usually stand in relation to the severity of the crime?

Absolutely not. There are guys serving 3 years because they lied about the value of 5 or 6 properties. 3 years? Seriously? They are serving a criminal prison sentence when the individuals that did this for hundreds of thousands of homes simply pay a billion dollar fine and stay out of prison?

People don't really know about this - but they've started going after the the peasants of the mortgage industry. If there was a white old man in my unit there was a 90% chance he committed mortgage fraud. There were other people there for selling weapons illegally to countries that have embargoes, and other issues but most were for mortgage fraud - but none of the executives in larger institutions were incarcerated.

That's incredibly unjust.

bjo30303 karma

How much time were you facing if convicted?

beentojail5 karma

The indictment was on 7 counts of wire fraud, so 20 years x 7 = 140 years. I plead out and get 12 months and 1 day, and did 85% of my time (as required by law) and did 10 months in federal prison, and 1 month under house arrest.

SkeetSkeeterson3 karma

Would you do it all over again?

beentojail8 karma

No.

pimasecede2 karma

I just have to say, I don't know how I could have ever waited 2+ years for my trial. That in and of itself must have just been hell for you.

beentojail7 karma

It wasn't even waiting for a trial. I had already pled. I was just waiting for sentencing. That was horrible because my points were so low I could have gotten ZERO jail time. The range was from 0 - 36 months. The judge could have let me go with just probation but he said he wanted to send a message to the community that these acts are unacceptable.

That_Cricky2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!

Have you ever thought of anything that could improve the federal system while you were inside?

beentojail7 karma

Definitely. Right now the only thing federal prisons provide are a GED program, and even many of those classes are taught by inmates that aren't exactly geniuses themselves (though some are - I met one). There are no college courses. There are only ESL classes for hispanics, but there are an increasing amount of non-hispanic, non-english speaking population and the federal system does nothing to train them for a job on the outside.

Remember 95% of sentenced inmates eventually get out, so if we don't prepare people for live outside of prison they will just return - and that's why so many do. All of the programs we used to have were cut. We used to have college programs in prisons and some inmates were able to get actual law degrees. Now, inmates do not spend their time productively at all. In fact, most of the cadre group was non-violent. We petitioned the Warden to allow us to clean up some of the graffiti in Brooklyn since it was so desperately needed. Obviously, that was probably above his pay grade but it makes no sense not to utilize federal inmates in volunteer programs that can benefit the community if inmates are willing.

That_Cricky2 karma

People would think something should have been done already regarding the lack of preparation for inmates once they get out.

What do you think is the reason why this is so? Also, you mentioned there used to be college programs in prisons but why did they remove those?

beentojail2 karma

This was done because of congress succumbing to pressure from a few new stories that claimed prison was better than the average household life style. They passed something called the Zimmer Law which removed much of these "amenities" for prisons. This only applied for federal prisons though. This removed most education and recreation activities.

moshphil2 karma

If you don't mind me asking, what's your relationship with your ex-wife like now? It seems to me like - although your said you regret going about it illegally - you were just trying to help your mother when she needed you. Do you think your ex-wife can understand that?

beentojail6 karma

We have a civil relationship. We don't have any children together, but we do have a dog, and our dog will spend 2 weeks at her place, and 2 weeks at my place. The reason she left wasn't the crime itself - it was the last straw. We had other problems.

ClaudioRules2 karma

[deleted]

beentojail3 karma

I wish. At MDC I wasn't even able to step outside. Murderers and rapists are able to step outside, and visit their family in a better setting than I was able to.

SooInappropriate2 karma

So i gather from this if I was over convicted, I would want to go to state prison over federal?

beentojail5 karma

It depends what is more important to you. State prison is more violent, but you also have more amenities. In state prison you have weights, work out equipment, the ability to buy game consoles like PS2s, television, some even have HBO, and you are not required to work. In federal prison you have none of these amenities but it is much less violent depending on the institution you are sentenced to, but that is true overall comparing the federal system to the state system.

LuckyCharms3072 karma

What was the most tedious job you were given in prison?

beentojail2 karma

I was in sanitation for about 2 days before they pulled me to work in the unit kitchen. The kitchen had much better perks, but it came with a ton more stress and led to most of the confrontations that I had. Sanitation was easy. I didn't really have to interact with more than a few inmates and 2 or 3 guards as opposed to interacting with at least 100 inmates in the kitchen.

Sanitation is pretty tedious. My job was to clean the on-site guard's gym, shower, and lounge. So I would wash the floors, replace toilette paper and napkins, refill the ladies sanity case, empty the trash, clean the elevators, clean the microwaves, and wait for everyone else to finish. It was easy. It was tedious, but I only did it for 2 days. Once you get a job in the kitchen they rarely let you leave to do anything else.

CapAnson2 karma

What do you think would be a good way to prevent crimes like yours? Disallow insurance? Then companies couldn't afford to float such large amounts maybe.

beentojail6 karma

The best way is common sense, honestly. Simply showing up to our "office" would have stopped anyone from working with us. Out of every single company that was contacted, only 1 every showed up to check us out first. There were others that came later, but only afterwards. What we did isn't new. It's been happening since the 80s. The industry is dirty as sin, and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. It was penned out to be a ingenious scheme by the FBI, but the reality is that any semi tech-savvy individual with a few thousand bucks can do the same thing. The things people use to trust each other are more vulnerable than anyone realizes.

For example, if you work in the corporate world you might be familiar with Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). An organization that is kind of like the Equifax of the credit world. What you don't know is how D&B gets this information. Most of the time the information comes directly from the account holder. Once you pay a $1500 fee, they will conduct their "research" which comes from financials that you provide, references that you provide, invoices that you provide, a company profile that you provide, and a positive credit history which you provide. The only time it matters if there is a claim against another D&B member - but at that point you just create another company.

EDIT: grammar

CapAnson2 karma

Hmm seems like you could get a job as a consultant protecting people from this kind of fraud?

beentojail2 karma

That's not a bad idea - but I'd have to find someone to trust me. That's not easy.

CapAnson1 karma

Look up Frank Abagnale.. he's done quite well for himself..

beentojail2 karma

I'm familiar with him. I'd do it. I'd just have to find people that want that service.

DeplorableOne2 karma

Which joint were you in?

beentojail5 karma

MDC Brooklyn.

sad_panda12 karma

[deleted]

beentojail3 karma

My lawyer told the same thing to me. The reality of what they are talking about is him spending some time in a federal facility and some time in a halfway house, and doing the last 30 days at home. Don't think that he'll do 5-6 months in prison and come home. It is possible that he can do 6 months in jail, and 4 months in a halfway house, and then do the last 30 days at home. He won't be able to do any more in his actual house unless there is some sort of condition that forces him to be at home, and even if he had cancer or something that wouldn't be a good enough excuse. There are medical facilities that cater to prisoners that have cancer, aids, etc...

The federal system isn't as subjective as state systems. He can only stay in a 1/2 way house a maximum of 6 months. He can only serve house arrest a maximum of 30 days (these numbers are based on his sentence). Sure, the prison could could recommend that the BOP send him to a halfway house as soon as possible - but that isn't reality unless you are very lucky.

Halfway house time is mostly given to people that have been in prison for years and need find a way to bridge the gap from prison life to entering society. Someone with a sentence for just a year (same as mine) won't be eligible for actually staying in the halfway house simply because there are a limited amount of beds in every half way house. He won't be a priority. The guys that are just getting out after spending 12 years are going to be the priority.

I'll can give your SO some advice, I wish someone gave me. Stop worrying about the time you will do. There is very little you can do to fight it, and frankly with the short amount of time that he has to do (relatively speaking), fighting it can actually make his stay longer. When he goes in he has start filling out paperwork - this includes where he is going to stay when he gets out, and file his 1/2 way house paperwork. Even if he doesn't stay there (like I didn't) he has to register there, and go there for orientation. They make the decision the day he is released to the 30 day half way house time if he is going to stay in the 1/2 house or if he will be allowed to go home. You only know the BOP recommendation. The 1/2 way house case manager has the final say.

If you try to get out earlier and fill out paperwork for special cases. (He'll find out soon enough this is called BP-8, or a BP-9, or a BP-10 if you get crazy) that goes up the chain at the BOP where you can plead your case and get lawyers involved with the BOP to push you to get released earlier. They hate this. The team will "mistakenly" forget to send his packet to the 1/2 way house and delay his stay.

I've seen this done with 2 people. One stayed an extra 3 weeks because of lost paperwork. Basically, if you try and screw with the administration at the prison by filing BP-9, and BP-10s they will screw him on his release date.

I, myself, was released 4 days later than I was planned because of these types of delays. I was trying to get an additional halfway house time. Because I filled out extra paperwork for them, they said they were delayed sending my packet out there.

Sorry, I couldn't give you the advice you are asking for. The best advice I can give is for him to find ways to spend his time to get through the day. Focus on getting his body in top shape. Focus on reading books. Focus on doing things like playing chess or scrabble. If he focuses on trying to get out earlier, not only is going to piss off all of his fellow inmates, but he's going to piss off the administration, and he'll end up doing more time than he should.

WilHunting2 karma

Does rape run as rampant as television and movies portray?

beentojail6 karma

It's worse in state prison - as told by federal prisoners that had to go to state prison 1st. In federal prison it's a bit different. Also realize that at MDC there are ~3k inmates. Most of them are pre-trialers. I was kept as a cadre (there are only 300 of us). We are typically less violent. Pre-trialers aren't sentenced and there actions may or may not affect the outcome of their sentence. As a sentenced cadre any violent action you do can add jail time if the DHO (Discipline Hearing Officer) says so so it's not as bad in cadres.

For pre-trialers fights were an everyday occurrence. Rapes were not as frequent, but definitely happened. There were more cases of consensual gay sex than rape.

Stretchicles2 karma

Why do they have sentences for a year and one day? what is with the extra day?

beentojail9 karma

The reasons is because any sentence over 1 year allows you to benefit from good time. Good time means that you will serve 85% of your sentence instead of 100%. If a judge gives you 12 months straight, he really wanted to give you more time.

YoYoDingDongYo2 karma

12 months and 1 day

What was the 1 day for?

beentojail1 karma

The reason they give 1 day is so you are eligible for good time. Good time means that you will serve 85% of your sentence as opposed to 100% of your time. Federal prison is not like state prison - there is no parole. In the state system you can be sentenced to 10 years and make parole in 2. That's not how the federal system works - what you get, you do...except for that 15% if you don't commit violations in prison.

If he would have given me 12 months exactly I would have gotten no good time benefit, meaning that I would have served 12 months exactly in prison, but by giving me 12 months and 1 day I served 10 months in prison, and 1 month under house arrest, so basically I served less time then I otherwise would have.

gumm_bee2 karma

Did your mother pass before you went to prison? (condolences)

Ever have any thought of running away/fleeing the country?

beentojail10 karma

Yes, my mom died before I was even arrested, and yes I had thoughts of fleeing the country and even suicide. The biggest reason why I didn't was because of my father. He had just lost his wife, and his daughter (my sister) doesn't really speak to him all that often so I'm literally the only family he has - so I didn't want to do that to him. Frankly, if it wasn't for him I would have probably off'd myself. It's a good thing I didn't.

FissurePrice2 karma

How often did he visit?

beentojail3 karma

My dad wasn't in the same state as where I lived or went to jail. He flew up and visited me two times. We did correspond often in jail though.

AxeManActual2 karma

How are older folks (let's say 65+) treated in prison?

beentojail5 karma

Most of them are treated with respect. There was this one guy that was in his 80s. He was convicted of racketeering - and old mob dude that used to extort people. He's old. He had one heart attack in the prison already. One time he was really sick and he had to wait until they finished counting in the morning. He tried to go to bathroom and couldn't make it. He shit like a trail from his bed to the bathroom. People helped him clean it up and helped him out.

Then there are other people like a guy used to annoy the hell out of the kitchen staff and I yelled at him one day. He's an asshole and gives everyone a hard time. People treat him like shit. He deserves it. I'll talk to him bad every once in a while whenever he comes up and complains but nothing physical - at least in my unit. That is not the case in every unit. Upstairs there have been old dudes that have been hit because they didn't understand prison "culture", but mostly they are given a pass if they are old...but only for so long.

espnzone1 karma

[deleted]

beentojail3 karma

I've had lots of close calls, but never any fights myself. Just a bunch of shouting, name calling, pushing, shoving, etc...

Juancoblanco1 karma

Why portion of the prison population was drug related non violent criminals?

beentojail5 karma

I can only comment on the 300 cadres that I interacted with. The prison is a holding facility for mostly pre-trialers. They range from everything from drug possession to multiple homicide.

For the cadre groups - the vast majority of people that were there for drug related non-violent crimes. I'd guess at least 50-60% of the population. My best friends in there were a heroin dealer, a coke dealer, and someone that transported cigarettes over state lines.

thedownvotemagnet6 karma

and someone that transported cigarettes over state lines.

Watch out, we got a badass over here.

LewdConduct3 karma

[deleted]

beentojail5 karma

It wasn't just directly to c-stores, and gas stations, but to suppliers of tobacco products who mixed in this purchase with legal purchases to increase their overall profit margin to their customers.

risingstars1 karma

Do you get porn ? Anything of the sort ? How was your sexual needs handled ? Privatetime to masturbate ? Get a lot of wet dreams ?

beentojail2 karma

There were smuggled porn in the form of DVDs and porn magazines but it was considered contraband. Most of the stuff was swimsuit issues and we lots of urban porn magazines. The showers were individual and virtually everyone had purchased bath slippers from commissary...if they didn't they used shoes - everyone masturbated in there. Sometimes we'd walk by in an aisle and see someone jerking off in their bunk. It was awkward.

xTinyCarma1 karma

Were any of the guards abusive towards you or other inmates that you saw? Did the guards single anyone out to pick on?

beentojail2 karma

Verbally or physically?

Verbally? Yes. There are lots of guards that are verbally abusive. There isn't much physical guard abuse - at least not with cadres, unless you are part of a fight. Once you are part of a fight, all bets are off. Guards will do literally anything to take you down, cuff you, and take you to the SHU.

Physically, guards take advantage of inmates that think they can say whatever they want and they'll be protected because guards aren't supposed to hit. This happens a lot right before intake. A prisoner (usually a transfer) will say something or intentionally pee on the floor or something nuts like that and that's when guards beat them up.

Cadres have to go clean up the blood, so that's how we know how often it happens.

ChucklefucksTheClown1 karma

I have a friend who is in prison under similar circumstances.

Having lived through it yourself, what are his options upon release? Where should he look for work now that he is a convicted felon with a white collar job history?

What about living arrangements? He has no one to take him in when he finally is released. Are there systems in place to provide housing for newly released prisoners until they can get back on their own two feet again? What did you do?

beentojail3 karma

I would recommend that if he has any favors he can call in - he starts using them and try to get a job somewhere that already knows his history. It is virtually impossible to get a job in corporate america with a felony record unless you personally know people that work in that company. If he can't do that - then he'll probably end up doing what I'm doing: be self-employed. I'm currently working on web design and development projects and that is what pays the bills right now. What am I allowed to do is continent on what my PO allows me to do as well, so I can't do anything I want.

One thing that makes it hard to get a job even if you have someone that is willing to hire you is that depending on your charge you might a special condition that states you can work in the same industry or work doing the same type of work for another employer (or yourself) which means that cuts down on the previous contacts you can talk to get a job. Being a freelancer, or being self-employed is the best solution but it causes problems when you have restitution payments due and you have a slow month. Depending on your PO if you don't make your payment monthly you will end up back in jail, so that is a constant headache.

If he doesn't have anywhere to live (also depending on the length of his sentence), he will have to file as homeless. This will put him in the priority to get a bed at a halfway house. It depends on lots of factors, including his activity while he is in prison but he could a few months outside of prison and in a halfway house if he is truly homeless. This means that he can't receive commissary (or very little like under $25 a month), he can't use Trulinks to constantly communicate and send emails or make phone calls to the outside. He can't receive books, or magazine subscriptions. He has to really be indigent.

While he is in prison he should try to become a suicide inmate companion which is the highest paid job in the federal system at $1/hr, and ask that they make it his full time job so he can start saving what little money he has the opportunity to save. The day he can talk to the head psych guy and put in a cop-out and request to work for the suicide watch - the better. If he is college educated make sure he stress that on the cop-out.

If your counselor is a dick, or if the area he needs to be released to has too many inmates requesting halfway house time and his prison stay is under 24 months he most likely will have at most only 30 days in a half way house. He will have to register as homeless, and find a shelter as a homeless person to get released from the halfway house. Essentially, he will do a bit MORE time at the 1/2 way house to get his shit together if he really has no place to stay. Depending on the halfway house though, it can sometimes be worse than prison itself.

I owned a property, and my ex didn't right away. It's currently under foreclosure so I'm actually moving soon (working on finalizing permission from my PO), but I was lucky enough to move back into this house. Since it is under foreclosure already it was a place I could live in until I got back on my feet. Since my wife left, and my Dad lives quite far away, it was the only option I had. My close friends were in another state, and if I tried to change the state of my release it can delay getting released and I wanted to get the fuck out of there as fast as possible.

pinksparklybirdy1 karma

Do you have to repay the $2million restitution? If so, what happens if you can't pay it?

beentojail4 karma

Right now while I am on probation I have to pay at leafs $500 a month (that's by the judge's order), or I go back to jail. After probation the restitution becomes a civil issue. It will remain on my credit until I pay it. I can choose to ignore it but if I am able to acquire some sort of wealth they can seize it. I could live under the radar (as most white collar criminals do), and put the wealth under corporate entities. Most restitutions don't get paid because of the legal tax loopholes that allow people to stash assets in trusts and holding companies.

pinksparklybirdy1 karma

Wow. I presume that if you aren't earning any money, they can't claim it back at all?

beentojail2 karma

Yeah, if you never have any money then they can't claim it after probation. However, in many cases (such as mine), the judge placed a mandatory $500 a month which is only enforceable while I'm on probation. In other cases the judge may not declare a minimum payment at all, he may leave it up to the probation officer. After probation if I never make any money they can't really do anything if I don't have any assets that they can seize.

Dcabbage1 karma

Did you ever meet a lawyer in MDC that was charged with murder?

beentojail2 karma

No. I did meet lots of lawyers in MDC but most them were there for some sort of mortgage fraud, or some other financial crime.

EDIT: There were a few famous people at MDC, but I didn't meet them personally like Ja Rule - he was on the 5th floor. Only certain people that were doing prison work like plumbing actually saw him. They said he just kept to himself, but as I said before I only interact with at most 300 people. The rest are pre-trialers and the only time I interact with them is when I am waiting for some sort of medical procedure - other cadres have more interaction with them because they actually got to leave the unit and do work in other parts of the prison.

aguyfromhere0 karma

Is it really Federal "pound me in the ass" prison?

beentojail2 karma

There are rapes. There is violence. How much depends not only what prison you are in, but what unit you are in and who are your friends. At MDC Brooklyn I was a cadre which means the 300 cadres were separated from the ~3k pre-trial inmates that were not sentenced yet. Violence and rape among them was much, much, much higher than it was among cadres.

Rape overall though is less common than simply consensual gay sex in prison. There are people that have gone to the SHU for blowing another dude in the hallway, or a closed corner or in some cases their bunks.

ICE_IS_A_MYTH0 karma

Did you consider making meth instead?

beentojail10 karma

Nope. Not even once.

ircanadian0 karma

Thoughts on medicare?

beentojail2 karma

I think we should have Medicare for all. It's the absolute best option.

WaywardWit-6 karma

Did you do time in a federal pound me in the ass prison?

beentojail1 karma

MDC Brooklyn.