For many people accused of committing a white collar crime, it is their first time being in trouble with the law. Understandably, it can be stressful, harrowing and nerve racking to the point of causing health issues. As it feels like things are unwinding and the prospect of prison may be looming, even thoughts of suicide are not uncommon.
While these feelings are only natural, in most cases, they are not reflective of reality. Being accused of committing a white collar crime is certainly never a pleasant experience, but you do have a right to defend yourself against the charges.
Even if the government does get a conviction, a strong legal defense may help you secure a more lenient sentence, and a little time in a federal prison camp – like the one at Pensacola Florida where offenders are allowed weekend visits with family members in a well-manicured park – is hardly the stuff of The Shawshank Redemption. Perhaps the hardest part for many white collar offenders is the perception of letting their loved ones down, but those who truly love you will always have the capacity to forgive.
According to a recent exposé in The Wall Street Journal, those convicted of white collar offenses might even have a unique opportunity to reinvent themselves that is not widely available in the general business community. More and more, former offenders convicted of securities fraud, money laundering and other complex white collar offenses are booking lucrative speaking engagements.
A single speaking engagement can easily yield five figures
As the business world becomes more complex, it is becoming more important than ever for lawyers, accountants and other professionals to understand white collar offenses from the standpoint of those who have actually been convicted of white collar crimes.
The Pros and The Cons is a company that provides training for businesses and other organizations by booking either law enforcement officers or former offenders for speaking engagements. Gary Zeune, the founder of The Pros and The Cons, told Risk & Compliance Journal that for 2014, his company has approximately 200 engagements booked, at speaking fees that range from $6,000 to $12,000. Half of these engagements involve speakers who were convicted of crimes.
Even beyond direct payment that can help cover restitution costs and other expenses, these types of speaking engagements can be powerful networking opportunities for former offenders. Some companies employ former white collar offenders as consultants to help sniff out wrongdoing within their own organizations. In other instances, professionals in attendance at an event simply realize that a speaker who has made a mistake in the past has turned over a new leaf and just needs a chance to reenter the professional world to once again become a valued employee.
A strong legal defense and a positive outlook can lead to a promising future
If you are being accused of committing a white collar crime, the fact that some former offenders make a nice living on the lecture circuit should not be taken to mean that your predicament is actually a stroke of luck, or that you should not vigorously defend against the charges. But it should serve as a reminder that every cloud has a silver lining, and things might not actually be as bad as they now seem. There is a life ahead of you after being accused of a white collar crime, possibly a very good life, and with the right attitude and the right legal help, your future might be far brighter than you could possibly imagine.