Tags: prison | coaches

New Industry: Prison Coaching for Rich Convicts

Wednesday, 15 Jul 2009 12:07 PM

By Dan Weil

Scoundrels such as Bernard Madoff may have ruined the finances of many investors, but they are a enriching a new consultancy: prison coaches.

The coaches apparently are being paid as if they just joined Goldman Sachs – fees up to $20,000, USA Today reports. At least six firms around the country are providing prison advice, and they are relying on Wall Street’s fallen stars to keep themselves in the money. Larry Levine, a Los Angeles-area consultant, has changed his company’s name to Wall Street Prison Consultants from American Prison Consultants.

The supposed money manager Madoff and lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart, who was convicted of insider trading, used the National Center for Institutions And Alternatives in Baltimore for advice on how to survive life in the big house.

And how much did Madoff, worth hundreds of millions of dollars at his peak, pay for the service? Nothing.

Herbert Hoelter, the center’s co-founder, told USA Today it waived Madoff’s fee because his assets were frozen. Presumably the publicity of serving Madoff will bring the center customers who can actually afford to pay.

Levine, who did time for drug trafficking, securities violations and machine gun distribution, tells the paper that his "Fedtime101" offers soup to nuts, not just bland statements like, “Don’t alienate fellow cons who have weapons.”

Levine will help clients avoid physical attacks, endure the "daily grind," understand prison dialects and escape "bad prison jobs."

Discussing Madoff’s need for prison advice, his lawyer Ira Sorkin told USA Today, “After all, it's not like planning your vacation."

Madoff has begun his new life at a medium-security prison in North Carolina. Hoelter told CBS that the disgraced financier wasn’t afraid of his new environment.

Perhaps he has Hoelter to thank for that.

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