Lecture Circuit Beckons Some Ex-White-Collar Criminals

Some former white-collar criminals are finding that crime does pay, with lucrative speaking careers following prison terms.

Those who have a compelling story to tell and who are willing to take responsibility for their misdeeds are highly sought after on the speaking circuit where they can make thousands of dollars per speech, the New York Times reported.

Those interested in hearing from ex-cons include business schools, professional associations and corporations, the Times reported.

"It's a powerful message," Kellie McElhany, professor of corporate management at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Times. She invited Walter Pavlo, the former senior manager of collections at MCI who spent more than a year and a half in prison after he was convicted of wire fraud and money laundering, to speak at the school's Center for Responsible Business.

"You actually get to see the consequences of poor ethical decision making," Professor McElhany said.

Some say corporate crime is just a fad right now in light of all the recent scandals. It is "just a hot topic now," Toby Bishop, president and chief executive of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners told the Times. "And in two or three years, if there are no more corporate scandals, it will be replaced by something else."

Despite the trend in having ex-cons as paid speakers, life after a prison stint can still be difficult. Some find they can’t get a decent job and have to make ends meet doing things they never imagined doing before going to prison.


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