Friday, May 17, 2024
HomeTechClass is in Session: High-Profile Fraud Convicts Get Business Lessons Behind Bars

Class is in Session: High-Profile Fraud Convicts Get Business Lessons Behind Bars

In an ironic twist of fate, high-profile convicts Elizabeth Holmes and Jen Shah will have the opportunity to brush up on their business acumen while serving their sentences – from inside a prison. Both women, who have been convicted of fraud, will serve their time in a Texas prison camp known for its white-collar inmate populace and surprisingly, its business classes.

Holmes, the former founder of healthcare technology company Theranos, was sentenced in November 2022 to an 11-year stint in prison following her conviction on three charges of wire fraud and one of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Her appeal for staying out of jail during the appeal process was denied recently.

She is to serve her sentence at the Federal Prison Camp (FPC) located in Bryan, Texas, a facility that caters primarily to those convicted of white-collar crimes, as stated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Interestingly, Holmes will be sharing her new surroundings with Jen Shah, the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star, currently serving a 6 ½ year sentence. Shah was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in relation to a telemarketing scheme that exploited elderly victims.

A unique feature of the prison, as outlined in the inmate orientation handbook, is that all inmates are mandated to take up a job for at least 90 days. They undergo assessments to identify their potential proficiencies in various areas, including business and clerical work.

Those with specific skills are then designated to jobs at a prison factory, working for pennies an hour to sharpen their abilities. Inmates are paired with more experienced workers to learn tasks such as machinery operation or data entry.

However, despite the vocational opportunities provided, inmates are explicitly forbidden from starting or conducting their own businesses while incarcerated.

Life at FPC isn’t all work and no play, though. The facility also offers wellness classes, arts and crafts sessions, and leisure programs. The caveat being Holmes’ and Shah’s routines will be rigorously controlled, punctuated by chores, multiple headcounts, and strictly timed movements within the prison.

As for the reputation of the prison, criminal defense lawyer Alan Ellis likened FPC Bryan to “heaven” compared to other facilities. He quipped, “If you have to go, it’s a good place to go.”

While the representatives for both Holmes and Shah remained silent on these recent developments, one thing is certain – their entrepreneurial journey is taking a detour through unexpected territory.