It was very early in the case. The plea deal I had been presented with when the charges were handed down was sitting squarely in front of me. I couldn’t make sense of it. Taking the plea deal meant I had to tell the truth, which I was doing. Taking the plea deal meant I had to cooperate with the Government which I understood in a general sense. Taking the plea deal meant that I would admit to something I didn’t do which was not an option.
Dan, my attorney, told me that there was a meeting scheduled that would give us an idea of how the Government expected to prove their case. Dan wanted me to attend the meeting but I had to promise that I wouldn’t say a word. Not a word.
We were going to the meeting to learn what the Government was going to present to convince a jury of my guilt. It felt like maybe we were getting their playbook. Maybe if we knew how they were going to try and prove their case, we would know how to best defend me. On the other hand, the reason the Government might be having this meeting was that they were so confident in their case that it would convince me to take their plea deal. It seemed like there were a lot of agendas in the room, including mine. I was learning who my Government was.
I sat in the meeting. I had to leave at one point as the truth was bubbling up in me and I felt like I was going to blow. I excused myself and we all took a break. Lies, misunderstandings, assumptions, statements from cooperating witnesses that were going to say things I knew were not true. Deception was seeping in at every turn. It was disturbing. I can’t say a word. Not a word.
The Government wanted to hear why I was guilty just as Brad forewarned me.
Here is a small list that would have been nice to say to let the Government know who I was and what I did to make the Fund successful:
1. I never received any compensation from the Fund.
2. I loaned money to the Fund.
3. My parents and a couple of friends were investors.
4. I would testify if there was a trial.
5. I worked for over 20 years with no complaints from any of my investors.
6. I served as an arbitrator for an industry regulatory agency.
7. I took 3 polygraphs with no deception detected.
8. I relied on attorneys and accountants nearly daily per my email documentation to tell me what I could and could not do.
9. I preserved, organized, inventoried and photographed all the original business records before turning them over to a trustee.
10. I used an outside consultant to assure all financial operations were compliant.
11. I worked with an SEC auditor who confirmed our Fund was allowed to operate as we did based on the Fund’s offering circular’s terms.
12. I wrote letters to investors describing the portfolio companies they were invested in to keep them informed.
13. I conducted compliance meetings with salespeople and had them sign documents to confirm their understanding of mandatory compliance guidelines.
14. Lastly, nothing in my past or my character would suggest that I would ever knowingly or intentionally hurt anyone in any investment.
When something is so far out of your comfort zone, it takes a while to process what is happening. I didn’t have much time at all on any day, but I forced myself to think about what was happening. What can I control, what I can’t control? Who can help me? How can I prepare? What is most important right now? What do I need to learn?
There were tears and confusion. I would spontaneously go running. It was hard most days to shut down my thoughts and rest, but pure exhaustion helped. It took time to feel all that’s happening and find a place for the unexpected because everything seemed unexpected. The case was quickly taking over my life.
It was important not to stuff my feelings down. I didn’t want to pretend that I was handling all of this well. I was constantly struggling. My reality looked pretty bad. I didn’t totally lose track of being grateful for things like my kids and my health, but I was at best, often disoriented by a life I no longer recognized.
Community was something I couldn’t keep up with as much as I would have hoped to at this time. I couldn’t remember what I said to who. Too much was happening too fast. It was like keeping a scorecard. When was the last time I had talked to “x” and what was happening with the case at that time? It wore me out to live my life the way I was, explaining it to someone at some level seemed unbearable. Some days there was no explanation. It was a bad dream. I didn’t want to be unsociable or not appreciate someone’s concern. There were times when I had no words to describe what was happening.
How do you take care of yourself when life gets unimaginable?