Member Request for Help on Career Pathways After a Conviction
Submitted by Michael Cruse on July 5, 2018 - 3:24am
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Below is his story. I encourage you to read it, and post any comments you may have in this thread. He will read them here. I’m sure they will be a support for him, as he moves forward.
After receiving my MBA, I started work at an an asset management division, where I ended up remaining employed for the next seventeen years. I wish I could say that was the end of my downs and my story.The job was an interesting and amazing opportunity for a newly minted MBA. The strategy was to invest in a non mainstream market; to seek out and exploit inefficient markets. This involved buying defaulted property taxes from municipalities. When property owners did not pay their taxes, local governments were left with iou's instead of the required cash needed for their budgets. Our cash inflows to the jurisdictions from acquiring their iou's funded police and fire departments and helped fill school system shortfalls. When the property owner eventually replaid the delinquency (along with interest), our investment was repaid.
We first tested out the concept that I had presented during my job interview; my next step was to develop a business plan to raise capital and develop strategic partners. The asset earning rates were high because there were few participants in the market. The existing participants had agreed to not compete with each other to keep the returns high. In turn, our investors who wanted a good risk adjusted returns were provided with same, by our actions. My boss wanted me to participate in the market and not change it. I respected my boss; he was self made an brilliant. He was very charismatic. He was twenty years older than me and very successful. He had become like a father figure and I would have done just about anything to please him. We built a very successful business and expanded beyond NJ, our initial investment state, into 20 other jurisdictions. I learned to scale businesses and build an infrastructure.
Over time, I got promoted to Vice President had a staff of eight people who reported to me directly and over 100 subcontractor who worked indirectly for me. I thought we were doing a great deal of good. In retrospect, I should have questioned some of our bidding methods, should have insisted on better infrastructure and should be developed polices and procedures rather than operating so informally as was the practice of the firm.
Seventeen years later while still employed by the same firm, the Department of Justice charged me and other major payers in the inductry with violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. This Act was enacted in the early 20th century to address monopolies like Standard Oil. I could either go to trial and or plead guilty and hopefully receive probation. Facing a possible 10 year potential federal prison sentence, I chose the latter. I took responsibility for my actions, paid the fines imposed by goverment and looked to a future that now had some challenges that required intestinal fortitude.
I have a two special needs children. My wife is a social work for the local government and has been thrust in the role of primary breadwinner for our family despite her modest pay. Where once, I was pursued by other employers eager to talk to me about employment opportunities, I have had to scramble for consulting jobs as I seek full-time work. My conviction precludes from some regulated firms from looking at me. My prior earning history scares some employers.
I am working to create a second chance and hoping my story elicits someone to give me a chance. I can help solve a variety of issues. I remain optimistic as it only takes one opportunity where an employer says "yes" let's take a chance. I am flexible and adaptable. I have grown-up a lot and still have much to offer. Thanks for reading my story. I have had my ups and downs. I truly believe up is around the corner.