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Title: Government Investigations: Allen Stanford Case


Navigating the Perilous Waters of Government Investigations: Insights from the Allen Stanford Case


Imagine waking up to the news that a financial empire you’ve built is now the subject of a government investigation. That’s a reality Allen Stanford faced, and it’s a situation that can turn anyone’s world upside down. My time in federal prison, spanning 26 years, brought me into contact with over 10,000 individuals who faced similar daunting circumstances. Each story, including Stanford’s, carries a lesson on the criticality of understanding and responding to government investigations.

Allen Stanford, once a beacon in the financial world, saw his life unravel as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shifted their lens onto his operations. Initially, it was a civil probe into the sale of high-yield certificates of deposits at the Stanford Financial Group. A seemingly standard procedure, but not quite. Civil investigations, while primarily regulatory, can unearth layers that point to more sinister misconduct.

As the government peeled back these layers in Stanford’s case, interviewing witnesses, and classifying individuals as subjects or targets, the narrative shifted dramatically. What began as a question of regulatory compliance snowballed into allegations of orchestrating a Ponzi scheme. This shift from civil to criminal isn’t just a change in terminology; it’s a whole new legal battleground, where liberty is at stake.

Stanford’s response to this escalation was less than ideal. His public declarations, vilifying the government’s actions as a witch hunt, not only failed to garner sympathy but also likely aggravated his situation. His lack of comprehension of the gravity of a government investigation was evident. Had he adopted a more compliant and strategic approach, perhaps his journey through the legal system would have been different.

A person should learn as much as possible to understand the implications of every decision. Every response in the early stages of an investigation can significantly impact the outcome. Stanford’s case exemplifies the thin line between civil inquiries and criminal charges. His sentence, over a century long, and the recommendation for confinement in a high-security facility, are stark reminders of the weight of these decisions.

My message to anyone facing a government investigation is straightforward: learn, prepare, and strategize. Understand the nuances of civil and criminal probes. Recognize that early decisions have long-term consequences. And most importantly, seek knowledgeable guidance to navigate these treacherous waters.

Allen Stanford’s story is not just a tale of financial misdeeds; it’s a lesson in legal strategy and decision-making. It underscores the importance of understanding the full spectrum of government investigations and the critical need for informed, strategic responses.

In conclusion, remember that knowledge is your strongest ally. Whether you’re at the onset of a government investigation or deep within its grips, informed decisions and a clear understanding of the process are vital. It’s never too late to start preparing for a better outcome, but the earlier, the better.




How to speak to a judge at sentencing


A good plan on preparing for sentencing in federal court involves many steps. First, a person should think about the stakeholders. Who are they and what do they want? A person cannot change the past, but a good mitigation strategy will show stakeholders that a person is a good candidate for rehabilitation.

As a young man, I had to learn a great deal about how to build a mitigation strategy. Authorities charged me with crimes that exposed me to a life sentence. I could not change the fact that I had broken the law. That was my fault. It would be up to me to think about how I wanted to prepare for a better outcome. 

Each person who faces a sentencing hearing should think about the challenges ahead. Help stakeholders understand the plan you’ve made to reconcile with society and make amends. The harder you work on the plan, the more effective you’ll be at engineering a strategy that advances you as a candidate for leniency.

In our courses, we recommend that you draft a comprehensive narrative, in the first-person voice. You should supplement that narrative with well-planned allocution,

An allocution is the verbal statement that you will make to the judge before the judge imposes a sentence. It can influence the outcome of the proceeding in a positive way, or in a negative way. So prepare well. 

Purpose of Allocution in a Federal Sentencing Hearing

Allocution is your chance to speak directly to the judge, to express remorse, to explain the circumstances that led to your offense, and to demonstrate your commitment to a positive change. It’s a personal moment that humanizes you beyond the legal facts presented in your case.

Do not squander this opportunity to influence the judge in a positive way. The judge does not want you to re-litigate the case. It’s crucial that you show sincerity. I encourage you to make eye contact, and do not be afraid to show emotion. 

The worst thing a person can do during an allocution would be to blame others. At the federal sentencing stage, the only goal is to position yourself for the most lenient sentence possible. Focus on remorse, personal responsibility, and articulating the steps you’ve taken to atone.

Preparing Your Allocution Statement:

Write and Practice: Draft your statement and practice it. While it should come from the heart, having a well-thought-out statement ensures you cover all key points succinctly and coherently.

Consult with Your Attorney: Review your statement with your attorney. They can provide feedback and ensure your message aligns with your legal strategy.

Keep It Concise: Allocution statements should be concise and to the point. Respect the court’s time by delivering a statement that is direct yet complete. A good time frame should be three to five minutes.

Speak Clearly and Respectfully: When delivering your statement, do so clearly and with respect. The tone and delivery of your message are as important as its content.

Be Authentic: Authenticity is key. The judge will likely have heard many allocution statements, so your sincerity and honesty can set you apart.


Preparing and delivering an allocution statement is a unique opportunity in the federal sentencing process. It allows you to have a direct dialogue with the judge and can significantly impact the outcome of your sentencing. By focusing on sincerity, personal responsibility, and a clear commitment to change, your allocution can serve as a powerful tool in your sentencing strategy. Approach this moment with the seriousness and preparation it deserves, as it could shape the course of your future.


Prep for Prison


Develop plans to thrive through crisis


No one wants to go to prison. But in this era of big government, the United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other country. To reform this system, I’ve built a personal ministry. Part of that ministry requires me to teach others how to prepare for a successful journey through prison.

My name is Michael Santos. I made bad decisions as a young man that resulted in my serving 26 years in federal prison. Fortunately, an officer passed me several books that changed my life during the first year that I served. Although I could not change the past, I learned that I could change the way that I think. If I changed the way that I think, I would be able to develop a strategy that would help me recalibrate and make amends with society. The better I plan during my preparation for prison, the  more effective I would be at opening opportunities to succeed in prison and beyond.

Anyone who is facing a federal prison term can do the same. To succeed through prison and beyond, a person needs to prepare.

Understanding Prison:

Start with a clear understanding about the environment. No one will argue that federal prisons are a family-friendly place. By taking away liberty and separating people from the people they love, prisons can obliterate hope. No one should go into prison thinking that the environment exists to make life easier, or better for the individual. 

Whether a person is going to a minimum-security camp, or a high-security penitentiary, the person should expect to encounter resistance. To overcome that resistance, create a plan that begins with a SWOT analysis. Determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Then, figure out how to succeed, regardless of external circumstances.

Perhaps an example will help. 

After a federal judge sentenced me to serve a 45-year prison term, I accepted that I would need a plan. That plan required a time frame that I could process. I was only 23 years old when I began serving my sentence, so I did not know how to process the concept of 45 years. Instead, I focused on the first 10 years.

What would be the best possible outcome for me after a decade of confinement?

I hope that people reading this lesson will not face sentences that are so long. A sentence of 1 year, or ten years, can extinguish hope. To restore confidence, a person must define success by developing a plan that will lead to the best possible outcome.

In my case, I thought about the stakeholders that I would meet in the future. What steps could I take during my first decade in prison to prepare for more opportunities in the future? That kind of open-ended question led to my three-part plan. I could work toward:

  1. Educating myself and earning academic credentials,
  2. Contributing to society in meaningful, measurable ways,
  3. Building a support network.

That three-pronged plan could serve as a compass for me. It helped me tune out the negativity and use a hyper focus toward reconciling with society.

Your Prep for Prison:

Each person is different, and each person should develop a similar strategy that will lead to a better outcome. Preparing for a successful prison journey isn’t about what I did, but about what you did. Contemplate the strategy that will work for you. To assist others with this task, I always encourage people to use our the same strategy that helped me:

  1. Define success as the best possible outcome.
  2. Set goals that align with how you define success.
  3. Move forward with the right attitude, defined by a 100 percent commitment to your success.
  4. Aspire to something more than what you’re going through now.
  5. Act in ways that align with your commitment to succeed.
  6. Measure progress with your personal accountability tools.
  7. Stay aware of opportunities to grow, and make others aware of your progress.
  8. Live authentically, always pursuing excellence.
  9. Celebrate the incremental achievements along the way.
  10. Live in gratitude, appreciative of the blessings that have come your way.

That strategy worked for me, and now I work hard to teach others. The following video series may help.

Preparing for Success After Prison: Video 1

Introduction /

Time: 21:55

This intro reveals the bad decisions that brought me into prison with a 45-year sentence, and shows a commitment on using the inside to reconcile with society and prepare for success.

Preparing for Success After Prison: Video 2 

Socratic Thinking /

Time: 21:51

This second video reveals how an officer gave me a copy of a book discussing the life of Socrates, and shows how Socratic thinking led to better decisions in prison.

Preparing for Success After Prison: Video 3 

Purple Cow /

Time: 22:14

The third video shows people the opportunities that open when a person rejects the criminal lifestyle and builds a record of incremental progress.

Preparing for Success after Prison: Video 4:

Adversaries into Advocates /

Time: 22:45

In the fourth video, we show how a commitment to excellence can convert adversaries into advocates, opening more opportunities that translate into success upon release.

Preparing for Success after Prison: Video 5:

Penitentiary to Camp /

Time: 22:32

In the fifth video, participants see how a sustained commitment to positive behavioral change can lead to better conditions, such as transfers from a penitentiary to camp, where more opportunities open.

Preparing for Success after Prison: Video 6

Success after Release /

Time: 20:36

In the final video of the series, I show how decisions in prison influence prospects for higher levels of liberty and success upon release.

I hope you find this information helpful and that you grow stronger through your journey (as I grew stronger through mine). We offer many more articles on our website.


Success & Prison


How to Use a Federal Prison Sentence to Prepare for Success


When non-criminogenic people go to prison, they must adjust. The concept of time away from family, friends, and community obliterates hope. It’s a crisis, one that can have many collateral consequences. To overcome the crisis, a person must learn to see things differently. 

My name is Michael Santos. I made bad decisions as a young man. A jury in federal court convicted me and a federal judge sentenced me to serve a 45-year sentence. By adhering to a deliberate plan, I learned how to succeed and thrive in prisons of every security level.

Anyone can do the same.

Start by Understanding the Federal Prison Environment

First, develop a clear understanding of what it means to live in federal prison. Do not go into prison expecting that others will want to make your life easier. Anticipate resistance and obstacles. To avoid exacerbating the problem, master the rules, the daily routines, and the social dynamics within the prison walls. 

To the extent possible, I encourage people to become familiar with Title 18, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 500. The CFR highlights the rules that prison officials must follow. By understanding those rules, a person will know his rights and responsibilities.

Build a plan that allows you to achieve meaningful goals while going through a difficult environment. 

Strategies for Success in Federal Prison

Develop a Strong Mindset: Cultivate mental toughness and a positive outlook. See your time in prison not just as a sentence to be served, but as an opportunity for personal development and growth.

Set Clear Goals: Identify what you want to achieve during your time in prison, whether it’s furthering your education, learning a new skill, or writing a book. Having clear goals will give you direction and a sense of purpose.

Complete Educational and Vocational Programs: Take advantage of the educational and vocational training opportunities available in prison. These can help you develop new skills, increase your knowledge, and prepare for a successful reentry into society.

Maintain Physical Health: Regular exercise and a healthy diet are crucial in maintaining physical health and managing stress. Staying physically active can also be a productive way to structure your day.

Build Constructive Relationships: While it’s important to navigate social interactions carefully, building a network of positive relationships can provide support and opportunities for learning and growth.

Document Your Journey: Keep a journal or write letters documenting your experiences, thoughts, and progress. This can serve as a reflection tool and a way to maintain connections with the outside world.

Avoid Trouble: Stay clear of the prison’s internal politics and conflicts. You may not be able to avoid volatility, but you can minimize your exposure by aligning with the right group. I found that avoiding groups altogether could be crucial for safety and well-being.

Preparing for Reentry

Develop a Release Plan: Start planning for your life after prison from day one. This includes thinking about your career path, housing, and rebuilding relationships.

Stay Connected with Loved Ones: Maintain regular contact with family and friends. This can provide emotional support and help you stay grounded.

Be strategic: Succeeding in prison requires you to live deliberately, as if you’re the CEO of your life. Take the following steps:

  1. Define success,
  2. Create a plan,
  3. Put priorities in place,
  4. Build your tools, tactics, and resources,
  5. Measure daily progress,
  6. Adjust as necessary,
  7. Execute your plan daily.


Success in federal prison is about more than just enduring your sentence. Each person should think about the collateral consequences that will follow. A deliberate and disciplined approach will make a huge difference toward moving you to the highest level of liberty at the soonest possible time. Experience taught me that with the right mindset and strategies, it’s possible to navigate the challenges of federal prison and emerge stronger and better prepared for the next chapter of your life.


Success after Release


Life after Federal Prison


Preparing for a successful reentry into society after release from federal prison is a crucial phase that demands foresight, planning, and determination. As I learned from Stephen Covey, a person should begin with the end in mind.

My name is Michael Santos, and I was 23 years old when authorities locked me in a solitary cell. By the time I finished the criminal trial, a federal judge sentenced me to serve a 45-year sentence. I grew up in Seattle, but the Federal Bureau of Prisons sent me to begin serving my sentence inside a high-security United States Penitentiary on the east coast. Inside those 40-foot walls, I learned how to begin preparing for life after federal prison.

After 9,500 days, in 2013, I concluded my obligation to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. When I got out, income opportunities awaited me. I felt ready to begin working to build a career. Preparations in prison made all the difference, allowing me to build businesses that generate millions in revenues and profits.

Anyone who sets a goal to succeed can work toward a better outcome. As we recommend through all our free courses at Prison Professors, adhere to a strategy that shows you want to be the CEO Of your life:

  1. Define success as the best possible outcome.
  2. Set goals that align with how you define success.
  3. Move forward with the right attitude, defined by a 100 percent commitment to your success.
  4. Aspire to something more than what you’re going through now.
  5. Act in ways that align with your commitment to succeed.
  6. Measure progress with your personal accountability tools.
  7. Stay aware of opportunities to grow, and make others aware of your progress.
  8. Live authentically, always pursuing excellence.
  9. Celebrate the incremental achievements along the way.
  10. Live in gratitude, appreciative of the blessings that have come your way.

Understanding the Challenges of Reentry

For the person who does not prepare, returning to society after a lengthy term in prison can feel overwhelming. It involves adapting to a world that may have significantly changed, rebuilding relationships, finding employment, and re-establishing a place in the community.

Understanding the challenges that await should motivate a person to prepare. The following steps may help:

Develop a Release Plan: Start planning for your release early. This plan should include your goals for housing, employment, education, and rebuilding relationships. A clear and detailed plan can provide direction and purpose upon release.

Pursue Education and Training: Utilize opportunities for education and vocational training while in prison. These can equip you with valuable skills and certifications that enhance employability post-release.

Build a Support Network: Establish and maintain connections with family, friends, mentors, and support groups. A strong support network can offer emotional support, advice, and practical assistance.

Understand Your Legal Obligations: Be aware of any legal restrictions or requirements that will apply to you after release, such as parole conditions. Ensuring compliance is critical to avoid complications.

Financial Planning: Develop a financial plan to manage any debts and budget for your initial months post-release. Financial stability is a key component of successful reentry.

Mental and Emotional Preparation: Prepare mentally and emotionally for the transition. This can involve counseling, self-reflection, and setting realistic expectations for the reentry process.

Engage in Continuous Learning: Continue your education and skills development even after release. Lifelong learning is crucial for personal growth and career advancement.

Give Back to the Community: Consider ways you can contribute positively to your community. This can aid in rebuilding your reputation and creating a sense of purpose.

Maintain Healthy Habits: Continue healthy practices developed in prison, such as regular exercise and good nutrition. A healthy lifestyle supports overall well-being and focus.

Commit to Goals: Remain dedicated to the goals you set in your reentry plan. Adjust them as needed, but always keep your long-term objectives in sight.


Preparing for success after release from federal prison is a multifaceted process that requires careful planning, dedication, and a positive mindset. Embracing the journey as an opportunity for growth and transformation can lead to a fulfilling and successful life post-incarceration. My journey taught me that with perseverance, a solid plan, and the right support, it’s possible to overcome the challenges of reentry and achieve lasting success.

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