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Ex-Con Advising White-Collar Criminals

Ex-Con Advising White-Collar Criminals

Posted - Apr. 1, 2004 at 5:21 p.m.



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Jed Boal ReportingA local man is making lots of money off other people's white-collar crimes. And here's the kicker, he's a former convict himself.

David Novak runs a consulting firm for white-collar criminals sentenced to federal prison. When Martha Stewart was found guilty his phone started ringing off the hook.

David Novak did ten months of hard time for mail fraud back in the mid-nineties. Since then he's used his knowledge from the inside to help those facing federal prison. Novak is the author of "Down Time...A Guide to Federal Incarceration." And for a small fee of $165 an hour he'll personally counsel white-collar criminals on what to expect behind bars.

David Novak, Author of "Down Time": "You're no better or worse than any other inmate. It doesn't matter that you are the CEO of the corporation and your bunkmate is a crack dealer from Orlando Florida; you are just an eight digit number."

Novak is nationally known for his very unique niche, and has had some very high profile clients. When word of Martha Stewart came down he appeared on every major network. The obvious question, ‘how much time will Martha do?’

Novak: "The guidelines to be applied to Miss Stewart is black and white and at the low end is a 10 month sentence; at the high end is a 24 month sentence."

He says don't look for a judge to be lenient with Stewart, although this is the first time she's been in trouble. He says her fame will actually work against her and there will be no favoritism once inside.

Novak: "She'll be in a very small bunk-bed sharing a bunk bed with another inmate in an 8 by 6 cubicle with very little personal space, and it is against policy to decorate in any way. She's certainly got the advantage that many people I work with don’t, and that is that she is going to come out and she's still going to be worth a quarter of a billion dollars."

Novak's business is growing its net worth too. In an age where corporate scandals and high-profile fraud trials make headlines every day, business is looking good.

Novak says he is amazed how much need there is for this type of service and knowledge, and he's amazed at how little attorneys really know about the federal system.

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