Choices and Consequeces: Solona Islam quits job in battle to make ends meet – Pleads guilty to Prostitution.

March 4, 2011

Sometimes all is not as it seems.  Described as a teacher – prostitute, Solona Islam has found herself in a very public debate over the choices she made in order to meet her desperate need for money.  Every choice has a consequence and featured nationally in various media outlets is not what Ms. Islam expected – I’m quite sure.

According to news reports:

A high school teacher in Little Rock has resigned after school officials learned she pleaded guilty in November to a prostitution charge.

McClellan High School algebra teacher Solona Islam, who had been put on paid administrative leave, told Fox16.com she resigned because she didn’t want to have the school district involved in her personal matters.

The 27-year-old was arrested Oct. 29 on misdemeanor charges of prostitution and operating a business without a license but Police Sgt. Cassandra Davis said the school district was not notified because the charge was not a felony.

Islam said she was desperate for money and originally thought she was just going to work for a dating service. She pleaded guilty on Nov. 5 and was given a suspended 90-day sentence and a $640 fine.

School officials told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that they finally learned of the plea from a reporter and suspended Islam on Wednesday.

Islam, who was in the fifth year of her teacher career, told Fox16.com that she hopes this attention doesn’t affect her ability to find another job.

Choices and consequences!  As I read this story I began to recall those choices I made that, like Solona, began a road to recovery.  In my book – SECOND CHANCES – I stated:
I had rationalized my actions and certainly could correct any choice I made. I wasn’t a bad person, just a smart one, I thought. I knew how to beat the system. Feeling so invincible, I was soaring high; I believed that nothing could touch me. Little did I know.
I can’t personally speak for Solona Islam, but I can imagine that she lived this dual self never really expecting to get caught – thinking that she could walk away at any time.  But, often we find that lessons come at us when we least expect them and in ways we never consider.
While on Earth, we have a great opportunity for growth. Unfortunately, many of the lessons contained in experience are hidden from our conscious view within our subconscious mind. Because of the veil placed over humanity, most of us function with only a dim awareness of our purpose or mission. Life is our teacher, through which we receive many experiences. At some point, as we grow, the lessonsshow themselves. Then we can reflect on our experience and reap the consequences of our lessons.
I have come to understand that a situation that is less than joyful is there to teach us important lessons. We can learn from the lessons presented and gain insight and growth. That’s our choice. To progress and learn, however, it is helpful to express our conscious intent to do so. The reality is that unless we recognize the lesson, events may continue unfolding until the lessons intensify. We must remain open to the teachings and gifts we are receiving in order to grow and evolve.
As we grow in our spiritual journey, we can progress to the point that we step out of our bodies and become conscious observers. At that point, we begin to sense that we’re more in control of the situation than we imagined. By looking from the outside in, we can make a choice to respond in a way that serves our highest good. Self-awareness, in part, means that the veil has been partially lifted as we progress through our life lesson.
Perhaps before we quickly judge the humanness of Islam’s choices, we can for a moment look at the divinity of her life and know that deep beneath the choices shown are wonderful opportunities to learn and grow.
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME

Christmas in Prison – Inmates remembered or forgotten? Second Chances book Excerpt by Chuck Gallagher

December 15, 2010

Today I shipped a copy of my new book SECOND CHANCES to an inmate in prison.  Seems that someone cared enough about this man to want to send him a Christmas present – the gift of potential – the gift of how to turn Adversity into Opportunity – the gift of how to change your life.

As I packaged the book for shipment, it caused me to reflect on my first (and thank God only) Christmas in prison.  It’s been 15 years now and yet I can vividly remember that time and the strong emotions I was feeling as Christmas approached.  All to often we can get caught up in the wrongs that folks have done (and, yes I was a wrong-doer) and we lose track of the tragedy that all face when dealing with the consequences of the choices we make.  Here in 2010 Bernie Madoff’s son Mark is just another example of the pain and brokenness that all who are associated with bad choices experience.

For those who cling to self-righteous judgment, allow me this moment to share my experience – to give my readers a brief glimpse or view into the inside of prison at Christmas…

SECOND CHANCES book excerpt:

On Christmas morning, my first and, as I thought, hopefully my last in prison, I lay in my bed feeling an aching in my chest. The pain was not from a physical ailment. Rather, the pain was an emotional ache that hurt to the very core of my soul, perhaps more deeply than any physical pain I ever experienced before. Although Christmas was my favorite time of year, this year it was the most painful time, and I was not alone in those thoughts. By this time, Buck and I had developed a close bond. Even he found Christmas morning difficult, and he had seen six of them come and go before I got there. I couldn’t imagine what that was like.

Five hundred men in this prison facility and on Christmas day, most of them would shed a tear. Being in prison doesn’t make anyone immune from pain and loss. On days like today, it magnifies the pain and loss. Just like them, as I lay motionless in my top bunk bed, I found myself thinking with tears streaming down my face. I cannot, to this day, say why the thought came to mind, but it made a powerful impression. It seemed that this “learning laboratory” had the tendency to teach at a rapid rate. At least, it did for me.

I recalled one evening, sometime back in the mid-eighties, standing in the checkout line at the grocery store I frequented in my former hometown. At that time, I was in my mid to late twenties and had a budding career. Now, I must admit, I thought that was an odd thing to recall on Christmas morning in prison, but this is what came to mind.  Looking back, there was clearly a reason.  The memory was crystal clear. I had walked into the store quickly to buy some steak and shrimp, having told my wife I would pick up some on my way home. We were to grill out that night, and I knew it would save her a trip. Little did I know that something so simple would provide such a profound lesson. Frankly, I had forgotten the experience until that day─Christmas morning in 1995.  As I entered the checkout line, the clerk, a female around my age, spoke to me.

“Chuck Gallagher. You’re Chuck Gallagher.”

“Yes.” Somewhat startled, I responded tentatively, realizing I had no idea who this person was and how she knew me. Here I was, standing in my suit, having just finished a workday at the office, and now I was being identified by a stranger at the grocery store.

“I’m Suzie,” she said, as if I should know her. I did catch her name as it was on the badge she wore on her grocery store smock. Even though she knew me, for the life of me, I had no clue who she was. Not only did I not know her name, but her face was also unfamiliar. While I tried not to show my unfamiliarity, my face must have given it away.

“We went to high school together,” she exclaimed, as if that should somehow jog my memory. “I read about you often in the paper. You seem to be doing so well.” Noticing my wedding ring, she then asked, “Do you have any children?”

“Yes, one,” I replied, smiling at her as I acknowledged her obvious warmth. I was just trying to be nice and carry on conversation, even though inside I just wanted to check out and move on. Then I asked what, in retrospect, was a dangerous question, “Do you?”

Little did I know that those simple two words would change the course of this unexpected visit.  With my question she responded, “Yes, three.” And with that, she stopped the process, even though we were in the express lane. She reached under the counter, removed her pocketbook, and proceeded to take out her wallet, wherein she had two pictures each for three children─and that was just the beginning.

Standing there, I could tell that the people in line were perturbed at her for the lengthy explanation and at me for even asking. Frankly, I wasn’t excited either. I didn’t remember her and I was just being nice. In reality, I just wanted to get out the door and get home. As she began to wind down, I knew not to ask any further questions.

“It’s so good to see you,” she said as she handed me the receipt for my purchases. “Maybe we’ll see each other again sometime.” I smiled and quickly walked away.

As I walked to the Mercedes I was then driving, I gloried in self-righteous thoughts. How important I was. She had read about me in the paper. I was ‘somebody.’ All of this time away from high school and the highest rung of the ladder she had aspired to was a check-out chick at the local grocery store. That thought was judgmental, ugly, and turned out to be profound.

Yet, on that Christmas day, 1995, as I lay on my top bunk, my thoughts drifted back to that incident. I couldn’t even remember her name, yet, in my mind’s eye, I vividly saw her with her family on this Christmas day.  No doubt she and her husband shared joy as their children squealed with delight over the meager gifts Santa left. Most of the time you can’t get kids out of bed, but on Christmas morning they won’t stay in bed. The joy and love you feel as a parent, seeing those tiny little eyes light up as they experience Christmas, is hard to describe. That feeling is one I ached to have there in prison on Christmas morning.  I imagined seeing her as she prepared their Christmas meal.  As their energy began to wane, she would hold her children in her arms and tell them that she loved them. As I lay there, I imagined her gently stroking their heads as they struggled to keep their eyes open, fearing they might miss something. Gently, they would fall asleep in her arms.

All those thoughts passed as I noticed the wetness of the pillow against my cheeks. She was home with her little ones. She was more of a “somebody” than I had ever dreamed of being. She was there, and I was in prison.

As the thought passed, I knew there were still choices to make. I could wallow in self-pity, or make a choice that would brighten my day and perhaps the day of others. A part of me longed to continue feeling sorry for myself, but I chose to move past it. With that, I got up and stood in the phone line. Most of the time there wasn’t a line for the pay phone, but today, Christmas day, there was a long one. So I waited.

I waited my turn in order to make a three-minute collect call to my children.  Hearing their voices on the phone, I choked back my emotion and with the most cheer I could muster I said, “Rob – Alex, Merry Christmas boys – this is Dad.”

15 years later my sons are grown men, yet I never forget the loss I felt the Christmas of 1995.  Christmas is not about the gifts, the carols, the outer trappings that merchants wish to lure you in with.  Rather, Christmas is about sharing the deep and abiding love of God that is indwelling in each of us with others.  So where ever you are, what ever you do, make sure to take some time to reflect on who is important in your life and how you can bring love and light to them – even if it’s in the darkest of prisons.


As predicted – Wesley Snipes faces PRISON! Court rejects appeal…

July 17, 2010

Every choice has a consequence and Wesley’s choices have landed him in prison.  Do I think the sentence is a bit harsh?  Yes.  But, Snipes did more – much more – than just fail to file returns.  Rather, Snipes elected through his choices to challenge the federal tax system.  HE LOST!

There is a message here.  Whether you believe in the system or not, if you challenge the system and don’t play by the rules – YOU WILL GO TO PRISON.  I know…I was there partially for a tax crime.

For more background on this story see these entries:

https://chuckgallagher.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/screwed-by-kenneth-starr-wesley-snipes-might-find-an-unexpected-benefit-from-his-loss-no-prison-time/

https://chuckgallagher.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/wesley-snipes-not-worried-about-prison-me-thinks-he-should-be/

https://chuckgallagher.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/nicolas-cage-vs-wesley-snipes-both-ran-afoul-of-the-irs-different-approaches-different-results/

https://chuckgallagher.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/tough-guy-wesley-snipes-fighting-to-say-out-of-prison-doubt-hell-win-that-battle/

Candidly it would have been a miracle for the courts to have come back with any other verdict.  A recent story on CNN is quoted as saying:

Federal prosecutors said Snipes for nearly a decade escaped paying more than $15 million in income tax returns by sending money to overseas accounts, though they acknowledged in court that the amount was in dispute.

Before the sentencing in 2008, the actor asked the court to show mercy and offered three checks totaling $5 million as a gesture of good will.

Federal prosecutors diverted the checks to the U.S. Treasury, which accepted the payment — but it wasn’t enough.

“It’s essentially a down payment, but a fraction of what he owes,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Scotland Morris said at the time.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Snipes, now that the appeals courts has ruled, will be given a report date and location.  Likely, he will be sentenced to a minimum security prison and will soon find out that – even at a minimum security place – prison is still prison.  For those who call it “Club Fed” I would challenge you to try it.  Frankly, it sucks.

Snipes will be a celebrity behind prison walls, but soon will be treated like anyone else.  He is, after all, an actor.  His “tough guy” image is just an image and he will quickly learn that there are others who would easily take advantage of him.  Best advice…stay to himself and learn humility.

When location and time in announced…it will be reported.  Meanwhile, YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME.


Freedom of Speech or Consequences of foul language – You tell me! Isaac Rosenbloom vs. Barbara Pyle

May 19, 2010

Don Troop, an author featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education wrote the following – presented in full:

An F (Bomb) in Oral Communications

Isaac Rosenbloom was among a small group of students who stuck around after speech class one day this spring at Hinds Community College to discuss their grades with the instructor.

After seeing that he had received a 74 on a late assignment, Mr. Rosenbloom testified in a recorded disciplinary hearing, he turned to one of his peers and said, “this grade is going to [expletive] up my entire GPA.” He says the instructor, Barbara Pyle, heard him and “went into a screaming fit,” telling him that she does not tolerate offensive language and threatening to send him to detention.

“I told her, ‘This is college, and I’m 30 years old,'” Mr. Rosenbloom testified. “‘There is no detention.'”

After being summoned to the dean’s office, Mr. Rosenbloom sought the assistance of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the free-speech advocacy group, which issued a statement defending the right of adults to use naughty words.

“It is quite absurd that a college has decided that a 29-year-old man who uses a four-letter word out of frustration after a class should be officially punished,” FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley said in a statement. “College students don’t lose their free speech rights when they arrive on campus. Will Hinds be sending its students to bed without supper next?”

While Mr. Rosenbloom is actually being disciplined for “flagrant disrespect,” FIRE wrote President Clyde Muse to tell him that the college’s speech policies are unconstitutional and were “applied unconstitutionally to punish Rosenbloom for his protected speech outside of class.” The college bans “public profanity, cursing, and vulgarity.” Violators can be fined $25 to $50 or, for a third offense, be suspended from college.

According to FIRE, Mr. Rosenbloom was banned from Ms. Pyle’s course and given 12 demerits (three short of suspension). In addition, a description of the case is being placed on his permanent record.

An appeal to President Muse is pending.

So…as I often report on choices and consequences…and ethics, this article seems interesting.  It raises an excellent question or set of questions.

  1. Should an adult have the freedom of speech to express his/her frustration without retribution or negative consequence?
  2. Is it constitutional for an institution of higher learning to impose a limit on speech for it’s students or employees?
  3. Was the instructor’s reaction to the words uttered appropriate?
  4. Lastly, if what you say offends me, should I have the right to limit your freedom of speech?  If so, where is the limit drawn between what offends me and your rights to express yourself?

I would hope that readers might be willing to express themselves and weigh in on whose right carries the greatest weight.

COMMENTS WELCOME


Sometimes a Picture’s worth a 1000 words – BizRadio! And what about Elisea Frishberg?

May 7, 2010

They say that a picture is worth a 1000 words.  In this case it is!

With all employees gone except, as I understand it the show producer, it seems that with the flow of illegally gained money stopped the reality of an effective business enterprise has set in.  And the sad part is it didn’t have to be this way.

REALITY CHECK – Yes, Dan and Al used their fund raising experience to gain money in a fraudulent way from investors to support their lifestyle and to support BizRadio (the megaphone they used to gain more investors).  That, in and of itself, is likely enough to cause an implosion along with an SEC investigation and/or perhaps an investigation by the US Attorney and/or others.  But…they had one saving grace – the revenue generated from the RIA (a substantial sum on money – at one time).

IF (and this is a BIG IF) Daniel had done, what over the course of two years or so he said he would do, and put the revenue from the RIA into BizRadio – would he be facing ultimate (my guess now not confirmed) criminal charges?  Sure enough, his bookkeeping might have been sloppy and Al (seemingly with Daniels blessing) might have been obtaining investment funds under false pretenses, but could it have been salvaged if they had made BizRadio a viable investment?

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda – nice to think about perhaps, but now it seems that those questions are irrelevant.  So here’s a more relevant question:

1.  What about Elisea Frishberg – will she be indicted for her role in this financial fraud?  How, you might say?  Well in an earlier post I shared with the audience that spouses are now coming under closer scrutiny for their roles.  Here’s an excerpt from an article that might shed some light on how law enforcement is looking at spousal activity.

Victoria Meisner, 53, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for filing a false tax return. She pleaded guilty in November to reporting $49,626 of total income in 2003, despite helping rack up more than $430,000 in personal expenses that year on a debit card belonging to her husband’s business, Phoenix Diversified Investment Corp.

Meisner’s case highlights one of the inevitable questions for authorities investigating Ponzi schemers and how they threw around their ill-gotten gains: Should family members whose luxurious lifestyles were funded by dirty money face criminal charges themselves?

Here’s the link to the full story:  https://chuckgallagher.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/so-youre-guilty-of-a-ponzi-scheme-what-about-your-spouse-just-ask-victoria-meisner-the-long-arm-of-the-law-reaches-farther/

From all accounts that I’ve received, Elisea was very active in the operation of BizRadio, in fact, most of my sources tell me (and I’m talking everyone says the same thing) that Elisea had a strong inclination to spend money.  One source said, “Elisea would go over the top for show when, in reality, it wasn’t necessary.  For example, we had a meeting where we were going to bring in Pizza and Elisea went crazy when she found out that it was just “ordinary” pizza.  She stopped the order and place an order for gourmet pizza that cost well over $100 and then there wasn’t enough.”

I suspect, from the comments from the Receiver’s report, that when credit card bills/receipts are analyzed – the lavish spending will come to light more clearly.  Likewise, no one can argue that Elisea had NO KNOWLEDGE of the BizRadio operations – as she used that to promote herself – her book and her show (which I understand failed miserably).

So, when it comes time to face charges (which I predict will take place) will Elisea Frishberg be included?  Did she sign tax returns that were fraudulent?  In other words, did Dan and Elisea report all the income that was used to support their flamboyant lifestyle?  Will any of this money that was fraudulently obtained be considered taxable income to the Kaleta’s and the Frishberg’s?

By the way, you might ask why I have left out Al Kaleta’s wife?  Good question.  Up to this point, I have not had one report from any source indicate that she was active in the operation of KCM, DFFS, or BizRadio and Affiliates.  That may be wrong, but thus far none.  Perhaps those who read and comment may shed some light on Ms. Kaleta’s role – if any!  On the other hand, most sources are clear that Elisea basically ran the place.

CONCLUSION:  The story, now becoming well documented, is still unfolding.  I am waiting to hear the result of the court hearing yesterday and unless the Receiver can take control of all the assets, I suspect the Involuntary Bankruptcy hearing will take place on the 10th of May (the last I heard).  For those in Houston or Dallas – if you know the outcome – PLEASE LEAVE SOME COMMENTS AS AN UPDATE!

As always – YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!


Louis Simpson – 15 Years in Prison for a $948,500 fraud. The cost of white collar crime is rising!

April 30, 2010

150 years for Bernie Madoff and that just seems to be the start when it comes to substantial sentences for white collar crime.  It seems that judges are becoming tired of people being ripped off.  In fact, now a white collar criminal could receive a sentence longer than another person convicted of manslaughter.  The times they are a changing.

Take the example of Louis Simpson. a 60-year-old Indianapolis, Indiana man who was sentenced to federal prison for his role in an investment fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas.  SIMPSON was sentenced to 183 months in federal prison on Apr. 29, 2010 and ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be determined at a later date.

According to information presented in court, beginning in 2006, Simpson devised a marketing scheme to defraud investors by claiming to operate a fraudulent program that he had with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Simpson marketed the fraudulent program to investors and obtained approximately $948,500 in wired funds from these investors.  To facilitate the scheme, Simpson provided investors with fraudulent letters from HUD officials and false bank documents from financial institutions.  Simpson was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 11, 2008 and charged with federal violations.  After a five-day trial, a jury found Simpson guilty on Oct. 29, 2009 of seven counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

Every choice has a consequence.  As a business ethics and fraud prevention speaker, I know too well that unethical choices can have disastrous consequences that can be life changing.  In this case Louis Simpson will have plenty of time to evaluate his choices.


So you’re guilty of a Ponzi scheme – What About Your Spouse? Just ask Victoria Meisner – The long arm of the law reaches farther!

March 14, 2010

I am not proud to admit this, but it is a fact and common knowledge for many years.  In the mid-’80’s I perpetrated a Ponzi scheme.  I did it without the knowledge of my wife, my business partners, in fact, no one knew until…

The outcome.  Total financial ruin.  The loss of many of the relationships I held dear.  The loss of my career.  And, yes, a Prison sentence.  But, what about my spouse.  In the early ’90’s when I agreed to plead guilty there was never (to my knowledge) any consideration that anyone would be prosecuted other than ME.  But now some 20 years later with what seems a proliferation of Ponzi scheme perpetrators – well – times they are a changing.

An article in the South Florida Sun Sentinel summarizes it well:

They once could be found at the sides of their charming, wealthy husbands — leading lives of privilege and glamour.

Now those years of comfortably basking in money are gone, replaced by lawyers’ questions and the scorn of former friends. Their posh lives had been built on their husbands’ schemes.

Call them “The Real Housewives of South Florida Ponzi Schemers.” Among them is Boca Raton mother Victoria Meisner, whose husband, Michael, masterminded a $37 million fraud.

Her story, however, is different from that of most of the other wives. For like her husband, she’s a convicted felon. On Friday, she found out she will be going to prison.

Victoria Meisner, 53, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for filing a false tax return. She pleaded guilty in November to reporting $49,626 of total income in 2003, despite helping rack up more than $430,000 in personal expenses that year on a debit card belonging to her husband’s business, Phoenix Diversified Investment Corp.

Meisner’s case highlights one of the inevitable questions for authorities investigating Ponzi schemers and how they threw around their ill-gotten gains: Should family members whose luxurious lifestyles were funded by dirty money face criminal charges themselves?

Back to reality…  I was convicted of embezzlement and tax evasion.  One I stole money from my clients in a Ponzi scheme fashion and two, I didn’t pay taxes on stolen money.  Yes, the IRS can put you in prison for things like that.  But, the more important question that people often asked of me was – “What did you do with the money?”  My response was – “Look around.”

Like so many fraudsters (can’t say I like that term, but it fit at the time), I lived, for my community a lavish lifestyle.  As I look back I have often wondered if people, including my wife and business partners, didn’t know or at least wondered.  It seemed in the late ’80’s that what ever I wanted I got.  BMW – Mercedes – Jaguar – BMW – Airplane, etc.  The “boy toys” were big and for the most part far more expensive and lavish than others I was connected with had.  Likewise, what my wife wanted she got.  Nice home, custom window treatments, fine furniture, and if that weren’t enough – another much finer home under construction.  We had it all (by out community standards)…but it was all an illusion!

FOR THE RECORD:  My now, ex-wife, had no clue.  I was a master illusionist.  I profoundly regret the pain I caused her and am indeed thankful for the grace and dignity she maintained in continuing her life and being the extraordinary mother to our children she has and continues to be.

Now…some 20 years later comes the Meisner case which opens a new and potential frightening door that heretofore seems to have been closed.  SPOUSAL PROSECUTION!

John Gillies, head of South Florida’s FBI office, has called the Meisner case “a cautionary tale to spouses that they cannot claim ignorance about their financial situation when they know better.”

Defense lawyers who specialize in white-collar crime agree that just because a spouse or family member isn’t actively involved in a fraud, it doesn’t mean he or she is safe from criminal prosecution.

“Willful blindness in the criminal system is tantamount to actual knowledge if there are sufficient red flags to alert an individual that criminal activity is afoot,” said Sharon Kegerreis, a Miami-based attorney and former federal prosecutor.

Among those warning signals: a sudden, unexplained influx of wealth into the household or curious patterns of moving money between bank accounts.

Looking back – could my wife explain our sudden increase in wealth?  If you looked at our lifestyle and the lifestyle of my partners, was there a difference and how could that be explained?  And, why was it that when I got a call to deposit money into our account for a purchase that my wife made, I had to consistently transfer money between accounts?  The tell tail signs were there.  But no one (not the least of which ME) wanted to look.  I created a grand illusion and all was comfortable – and who wants to disturb that comfort?

While most wives (this assumes that crimes are committed by men – which is not always true), do not get prosecuted…there is a growing trend to bring a new level of accountability to bear when it comes to protecting the victims of crime and punishing those who perpetrated the crime.

In the Victoria Meisner case – she was not convicted of the actual Ponzi scheme, but rather for filing a false tax return.  (Once again the IRS becomes a successful tool when it comes to busting fraud).

“I knew that my family and I maintained a lavish lifestyle well in excess of the ‘total income’ reported,” she acknowledged in a sworn statement last November.

Somehow I imagine that she regrets ever speaking those words – cause those are the words that put her in federal prison.

But what of her husband – well…his sentence is around the corner.  Michael Meisner pleaded guilty in September to mail fraud, loan application fraud and tax evasion. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 19 in West Palm Beach federal court, and faces up to 30 years in prison under sentencing guidelines.

FOR THE RECORD…I am not in any way proud of my past acts.  I often, as a speaker today, am asked, “If you had it to do over again, would you do it?”  Frankly, I chuckle at that question that arises over and over.  The answer, “NO!”  But, with that said, I cannot change my past, yet I can use the incredible lessons learned and hope that being open, honest and willing to share them might help others in their life journey.

I speak to audiences all over North American and one thing that is a common theme – EVERY CHOICE HAS A CONSEQUENCE!  In this case, perhaps it is now time to consider that consequences can arise from failing to look and be aware just as much as they are from being on the front line of the crime.

YOUR COMMENTS WELCOME!