There’s a life coach for everything these days, including one for white collar criminals about to hit a jail cell. Larry Levine is one of those men who help the wealthy adjust to the idea of hard time.
The wealthiest soon-to-be prisoners have employed coaches for quite some time to prep for their prison terms. Martha Stewart and Ivan Boesky are former students.
New consultants are turning to the Internet to reach out to those white collar members that have faced the wrong side of a gravel. These jail gurus are former prison staffers, disbarred lawyers and self-trained former jailhouse lawyers ready to help out the jail bound, for a price. That price can be a few hundred bucks or a couple thousands. For those fees the soon-to-be jail bird gets the inside track on how to file a grievance, obtain a desirable prison job or get transferred to a nicer lockup. They also are tutored on how to shave time off of their prison sentence.
More importantly the recent top guns in the business world learn how to blend in with the residents on their cell block. That information can be a life saver.
Tom Miller who runs a San Diego business called Dr. Prison tells the LA Times:
“When I went in, my first cellie was a white supremacist shot-caller named Pinky,” Miller says. “He was absolutely huge. He had Nazi signs on his toes. He started talking about some of his crimes and one of them was the rape of another inmate. . . . I was absolutely panicked.”
Some of the lessons taught include staying with ones own race and not joining a gang. Honesty is the only policy behind the prison walls. Don’t be a tattle tale and remember this is not the time to make lasting friendships.
Larry Levine runs Fedtime 101. He deals only with federal cases and bases his lessons on the 10 years he spent in federal prisons for drug dealing and securities fraud. He only takes cash for his services.
Last year he raked in over $100,000 from his 40 paying clients. Most of the time though he doesn’t meet face to face with those paying him. Being in contact with a felon could land him back in the cell block.
“Show ultimate respect. Be courteous. People are under a lot of stress in prison,” he says. “Don’t argue. Don’t confront. . . . I knew people were lying to me all the time. . . . ‘Hey, you want to be Elvis? Bigfoot? Thank you, Mr. President!’ I didn’t care what or who they wanted to be. I was just doing my own time.”
Levine also advices some that are facing the judge. One of those was Chris Upchurch who was indicted on mortgage fraud last year. Upchurch called to chat with Levine before he even got busted when he felt the heat of the FBI on his neck. He also gave him advice on his plea which was the opposite of his lawyers who told him to plead not guilty and go for a jury trial.
Levine’s advice: “Don’t be stupid. They’re going to get you.” More than 90% of federal defendants plead guilty; the vast majority who go to trial are convicted; four of five convicted defendants serve jail time. It’s better to make a deal.
Upchurch is awaiting his sentencing next month for his guilty plea.