One of the most puzzling issues that I had with the case was that I invested in the Fund that was the focus of the charges and I had my parents and a couple of close friends in this alleged scheme. That’s crazy. People don’t invest their own money and their closest family or friends’ money in schemes. It defied logic.
Brad was one of my very few investors. We have known each other since middle school and had a wonderful friendship. Brad had invested in a previous fund that I had managed. When the charges came, Brad was on the shortlist of people I needed to personally tell. When Federal agents called asking to meet with Brad, I got a call from Brad telling me such. I immediately contacted my attorney, Dan.
Brad came to Dan’s office and together they walked into the Government’s office. I am told that the two agents that were going to meet with Brad were stunned. The agents asked Dan to leave. Dan insisted on staying. The agents refused to continue the meeting with Dan involved. Dan insisted again. Finally, Brad decided that he could handle the meeting and Dan walked out of the entrance area with all the papers the agents had requested Brad bring to the meeting.
Strangely, returning to their work area, the agents couldn’t get in their offices and a makeshift utility area became the setting for the meeting. I was told the meeting lasted about 40 minutes. Brad gave a notarized summary statement of what he experienced in the meeting. These are not my interpretations in any way.
1. The agent tried to spin Brad’s experience that he had been duped.
2. Both agents wanted to know if Brad would testify against me.
3. The agents never asked anything that would indicate that they thought I could be innocent.
4. Brad thought the agents’ positions were all wrong.
5. There was a moment when Brad knew the agents were not interested in the truth, just winning.
Brad was unusually resilient and he knew me well. I had to wonder how others that might have been interrogated by these agents would hold up. Others wouldn’t know me as well. They might feel that losing an investment was literally a crime. As pleased as I was that Brad was speaking the truth to the agents, it gave me a real-life insight into the agent’s approach and what I was up against. I had to wonder if Brad’s defiance of who I was and what happened at all penetrated the Government’s ideas of “intent”. Intent is one of the elements of a crime and my understanding is that Brad made it clear that there was no intent.
I remember telling Brad that there was no Hallmark card for the kind of appreciation I had for Brad being so strong and honest. I expect that it was an experience Brad will never forget.
I was a bit on auto-pilot at this time. Every day was an event. I had to learn so much about what was going on and make significant decisions every day. These decisions were potentially long term and they were built on each other. I had made a decision to just tell the truth about whatever came up. I knew who I was and I knew what I did or didn’t do. I wasn’t going to let anyone change my mind or spin what I had to say. I was learning to stand up for myself in a whole new way. I figuratively probably fell down every day for one reason or another, but I knew what I had to do. Get up and fight the good fight. I want to be very clear that it wasn’t “easy”. It didn’t come naturally. I had to work at becoming a better version of myself all the time. I was out of my comfort zone and it felt like there was no net under me.
What I thought I understood was the worst that would happen to me was that I would go to jail for a crime I didn’t commit. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in that position. I would still have stood on the truth. I would miss being the Mom I wanted to be for my kids. That’s what got me some days. If I ever felt weak, it was for my kids. How could I have these great kids and not be in their lives? Yet, how could I tell them how important the truth was and then not tell it and stand by it when so much is at stake.
I did the real test. I looked 10 and 20 years into the future and tried to imagine how I would I feel. What decision could I live with best ….. telling the truth was the only choice I could make. All these years later, my kids are grown and they have told me how the case made a difference in their lives. The case unexpectedly gave me clarity and I think I imposed that on them in various ways.
Seeing Brad be so strong gave me a bit of a lift when there were few bright spots in the case. I had learned that my fear was not going to go away and that I had to behave my way through what was happening. Many times, I was pushing myself to be as strong as I could while others were watching to see how I was holding up. If I thought I could handle what was going on, others that cared about me could deal with it too. I set the tone. The case lasted for 6.5 years, so this became entrenched as a way of life. Brenna, Dan’s paralegal, told me after the case that they were waiting for me to fall apart. I just didn’t want to.
Brad’s experience gave me a short reprieve. I wasn’t “on”. He was the person that had to deal with the Government for a brief time. I could listen to what his experience was rather than everyone asking me about my dealings with them.
Brad is the kind of friend that I was hoping I had. The one that shares the grief and joy. The one who knows who you are. The one who tells you the truth when it is painful and inconvenient. He’s tough, but he knows what is important. He shows up. His friendship is a treasure to me.
What kind of friends do you really have? How do you know?