Why aren't there more rich people in jail?
This guy prepares rich criminals for prison
"I'm a mix of priest, psychiatrist, life coach and lawyer," says Larry Levine. "One of my clients was arrested this morning for mortgage fraud. He told me that I would have reassured him better than his lawyer."
When (rich) people have no other option, they give Levine a call. You have been caught, convicted of a crime and are on the verge of conviction. You face jail time. The time has come to consider hiring a counselor. This is someone who knows the prison system like the back of his hand and does everything possible to make detention as pleasant and smooth as possible.
Levine learned how it worked behind bars when he spent ten years in state prison for drug trafficking and stock fraud. After his release in 2007, he got off to a flying start with his "American Prison Consultants" service and sold the knowledge he had gathered in jail as expertise.
Over the years, more and more liability consulting firms emerged. There is a reason for this: white-collar crime will never go away and cyber crimes are on the rise. The criminal elite of the US metropolises have enough money to be able to afford the services of people like Levine. His job is to provide his clients with detailed information about how their lives will change.
"I can also help people in the intoxicant or drug business, but they already know better because they are familiar with the street," explains Levine. "Office stallions who get orders and juggle huge sums of money suddenly lose all their power behind bars. Suddenly a 26-year-old ex-military tells them where to go. It's like a culture shock for them."
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Levine wants to convince his clients that they will find in him a well-informed friend with legal expertise and typical jail cunning. He offers inner peace through honest rhetoric. For example, you can find a survival guide for life behind bars on one of Levine's many websites - including tips such as "Never push ahead on the phone" or "Never change TV channels without asking".
"I explain to my clients what they want to know," says Levine of his conversations with customers. "They ask me questions and I explain to them what they should have asked me." Levine's service is meant to help managers with their jail fear, but a large part of his services is to take full advantage of the reduced prison options. The most common tip here is what is known as the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP), an intensive six-month withdrawal program for drug-using inmates. Because the prison term will be shortened if successful, the places are hotly contested.
Charles Burke ended up behind bars for wire transfer fraud. He was in prison for 33 months, but Levine explained the withdrawal to him. In connection with an admission of guilt, Burke only spent 13 months in prison.
"Larry really saved me from worse," said Burke, whose unreserved recommendation can be found on Levine's website. "He said that with good guidance and the RDAP I would be out very quickly. That calmed me down tremendously."
Burke said he was addicted to alcohol and marijuana. Thanks to Levine's advice, he immediately made it his goal behind bars to be accepted into the rehab program. Some of his pals, who were also jailed and not prepared by Levine, were refused entry. "If you can't properly answer the psychiatrist's questions on the first day, you're very likely to get straight out," explains Burke.
There is an air of capitalist nihilism in the business of detention counseling: rivals target each other and try to ruin each other's reputations. Your clients are mostly rich and powerful. This means that even in the compensatory environment of a prison they have an advantage somewhere. In a way, Levine built his business around reassuring people with enough change that the return to golden freedom can be accelerated with a few tricks.
There are no guidelines for detention counseling and the prices vary widely. It is of course difficult for clients to assess whether they are being ripped off. And in one New York Times-Article from 2012 Levine contrite himself admits that thanks to the rapid growth of the industry, more and more people are involved who have no idea what they are doing.
"I justify my job as follows," says Levine of his job. "I spent ten years in eleven different prisons. I went through several levels of security. When I got out, I had to start from scratch. I just turned my time behind bars into something meaningful that worked well."
Knowledge is and remains power. And intimidated top earners who have neither in prison will continue to spend a lot of money on valuable tips and tricks for their time behind bars in the future.
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