By Amanda Carr
Two inmates from the Duluth Federal Prison Camp visited the UWS campus, Swenson Hall, on March 9, 2017 from 12:00 to 1:30. They shared their personal experiences with white collar crime and the effects of their actions on themselves and the lives of their families.
Augie and Ron both have college degrees and had careers in business. Ron was an executive at a large corporation and had 6 years of education. Augie owned his own business by the age of 26, a financial planning and consulting firm. Augie prospered at the expense of his clients and he stated that he had “decided making money was more important than anything else.” Ron told students and staff he had a fear of failure and “you’re so embarrassed by that time so you’re taking on bigger risks.” Ron said he had “non-disclosing dumb mistakes” and his income actually decreased.
Augie was sentenced to 190 months in prison (15 years and 10 months). He spent 4 years of his sentence in Sandstone at a “hard” prison where there was lots of violent offenders. He was able to transfer to Duluth Federal Prison camp to carry out the rest of his sentence. He had 30 clients who fell victim to his actions and made 6 million dollars at their expense. His advice is “if something seems too good to be true it probably is.” He also stated “I leave prison a better man than when I went in.” Ron says “when you focus on doing the right thing all the time, you really can’t go wrong.”
Both men left behind two children when they were arrested and spoke of the shame their actions caused on their families. They had isolated themselves from family and friends and encouraged students never to do that. Augie hopes to become a teacher when he get released this July and teach students business ethics, he currently teaches classes to other inmates in the Duluth Prison Camp. Ron says he has no interest in going back into a career in business. He gets released from prison in 2020. Their stories hopefully will save others from the same fate and will have a positive impact on UWS students as they head out into their future careers.