Silver was convicted in May 2018 — for the second time — of selling his office for $4 million in kickbacks and another $1 million in profits for himself.
At sentencing, Silver tried to put on a brave front about spending time in prison and didn’t seem to care where they sent him. His personal reputation was a bigger concern.
“I fear I will continue to be ridiculed and disdained,” was all Silver claimed frightened him.
Determining The Institution
The American criminal justice system looks at several factors when deciding which facility a white-collar criminal will be sent to. The governing factors include:
- Nature of the crime, as in how much money was involved, how many people were affected.
- Previous felony conviction(s)
- United States Sentencing Commission
- Typically a sentence of less than 10yrs with no priors, a person would be sent to a FPC (Federal Prison Camp). Here are a few notable white collar felons currently locked up at various facilities.
- Bernard Madoff received 150 yrs for his billion dollar ponzi scheme. He is at the in FCI Butner Medium II in N.C.
- Allen Stanford – 110 years for Fraud (one of the few that have been sent to a USP (United States Penitentiary). He is at USP Coleman II – in FL
- Bernard Ebbers – 25 years, Securities Fraud, he is at FCI Oakdale I – LA.
- Jeffrey Skilling – 14 years (originally 24 yrs) for his part in the Enron scandal. He is at FPC Montgomery AL.
There Aren’t Any “White Collar.” Prisons
“White Collar prisons” is a term folks sometime use to describe a facility someone who has been convicted of a “white collar crime”.
Most all white collar crimes are federal. Some examples are:
- Antitrust Violations,
- Bankruptcy Fraud,
- Computer And Internet Fraud,
- Credit Card Fraud,
- Economic Espionage And Trade Secret Theft,
- Environmental Law Violations,
- Financial Institution Fraud,
- Government Fraud, Healthcare Fraud,
- Insider Trading,
- Insurance Fraud,
- Intellectual Property Theft/Piracy,
- Mail Fraud,
- Money Laundering,
- Securities Fraud,
- Tax Evasion,
- Phone And Telemarketing Fraud, And
- Public Corruption.
Cumberland Is An Example
The Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland houses both medium and minimum security inmates. The visiting room is spotless and looks more like a corporate cafeteria with unbarred windows and inmate-made quilts decorating the walls.
Prisoners wear the uniform of the day which consists of forest-green cargo pants, long-sleeve, button down shirts and work boots. One inmate, former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, used to run the worst jail in America and was appointed by George W. To head the Department of Homeland Security until it hit the fan.
Kerik As A Sample Prisoner At A Sample Prison
Kerik’s sins are legendary and includes a 16-count indictment for lying to the IRS and The White House. The former top-cop also was indicted for accepting renovations to his home from contractors who sought work in New York. Kerik was sentenced to four years when he pleaded guilty to eight charges.
Kerik used his time to working out. Halfway through his stay in Cumberland, he looked like a bull and was 50-pounds lighter than his pre-incarcerated weight of 260 pounds. At Cumberland there wasn’t a golf course or tennis courts, but Kerik did enjoy the basketball and baseball games and made use of the workout area.
Every time another bigwig goes ‘up the river,’ people want to know what is life really like on the inside for white-collar criminals.
When details of life in the camps began to trickle out, they never seemed terrifying.
Mickey Sherman, convicted for tax evasion, claimed the most dramatic part of being in the Federal Correctional Institution, Otisville, New York , were the arguments which took place when inmates argued over who got kicked off American Idol.
Martha Stewart spent five months in the women’s prison in Federal Prison Camp, Alderson [West Virginia] where she taught yoga and crafted a ceramic nativity scene. The minimum-security facility came with cottages and tree-lined streets. It wasn’t nicknamed “Camp Cupcake” for nothing.
But times change.
No Club Fed
Despite high-profile cases like Bernie Kerik, Bernie Madoff, Dennis Kozlowski, Martha Stewart — or any of the Wall Street suits busted during the recession. The questions persis. What are the country club prisons like?
Decades ago tennis courts could be found in Federal Prison Camps. Most people became familiar with the term Club Fed — inspired by Federal Prison Camp Eglin. The stories, then, were true, but sentencing guidelines and conditions for white-collar crimes have gotten worse.
When Kozlowski went to the Downstate Correctional Facility, just outside of New York City, the former Tyco executive didn’t go outside for over eight months. After being transferred to Mid-State, Kozlowski passed the time doing laundry, reading books and taught himself to paint. “Koz” looked forward to getting out and “doing what free people do.” Close a bathroom door, go to the store, drive a car and even open a door were simple pleasures he missed.
White-collar prisons are not filled with, wait for it, white-collar prisoners. In many white-collar facilities the majority of inmates are drug dealers who are serving less than 10-years.
The great myth is the famous get better treatment. The truth is different. The higher the profile a person the fewer perks they receive. When Kerik was sentenced there were multiple minimum-security prison within a hour’s drive of his New Jersey home. Instead, he was shipped to western Maryland and his wife and children traveled 10-hours, round trip, to see him.
Jack Abramoff’s mother died while he was locked up and authorities refused to let him out to go to her funeral. “I didn’t see anyone else denied the opportunity to go to a parent’s funeral,” Abramoff said. “I was there long enough that I saw many people go to funerals — including some vicious guys.”
For white-collar criminals, isolation from family takes a toll. You can’t show your children love and support or provide guidance in absentia.
“No one can fathom the pain, the heartache which the system causes parents and kids. Nobody gets it. Nobody understands,” said one former inmate.
Kerik said, “I realize being sentenced in America’s criminal justice system is a life sentence. It’s not about the time you are sentenced for. You receive a punishment of imprisonment and then a lifelong sentence of collateral punishment.”
None of that sounds like Club Fed.