#133 Prison Con Men

April 9, 2010 at 4:14 am Leave a comment

Prison Con Men

This one is kinda hard to blog out, because I have feelings about this:

Before I continue, thanks for emailing me and supporting my blogs, hopefully by May I will make my cards, books and stuff available for those who are interested in my works.

With that said, let me jump right into this….

This bothers me because as an ex felon, I am the stereotype of what society thinks. It does not matter if I am selling tires, suits or Bibles, when people know I am an ex felon, the first thing they think is that I am trying to “con” them out of money.

And the thing about that is that we believe that every ex felon went to prison because they were cheating people out of money…which is foolish. Yet it seems that every ex felon inherits that curse by people who don’t know any better than to assume the worst.

So it’s hard for me, as an ex felon, to talk about my books and stuff, while trying to earn an income for myself. Some people just don’t believe that I have a right to earn a dollar anymore, and if I do happen to get a dollar, then I must have stolen it.

Some of you might be upset that somebody cared enough about my blogs to send me $20, or $50, or $100, and your first impulse would be to say, “I just know he’s conning those people”. Yet many of those same people read my blogs religiously, hoping that I might talk about a subject they need to hear about, since they are too afraid to email me or too cautious to support me.

Yet without that support, I don’t blog NEARLY as much as I do. Still, the idea is that every ex felon is out to con folks. I spent a LOT of time on my blogs trying to help people understand that not every guy in prison is like that. In fact, I might argue that more than HALF the guys that do time are not like that….

But this blog isn’t about those people…it is about the ones that establish the stereotype.

I don’t like blogging about con men and guys from prison in a negative way, but there are exceptions. This is based on an email I got, and two situations I remember when I was blogging and posting a few years ago.

Some of you reading this may have loved ones you trust, that is fine…this blog isn’t for you. I want to blog tonight about those of you that are concerned that your boyfriend, or husband is using you.

I got an email from a lady that feels that her husband is using her to get money. Now I am not going to put her out there about her situation, but I can say that in her email to me, there is a very strong pattern of things her husband demands of her, and if he does not get it, he says he will leave her.

This poor woman is currently unemployed, and had been sending him money to keep him happy, but he is always asking for more things, and more money. She is concerned that maybe he is sending it to another woman, or maybe he is getting money from other people too. She is considering getting a divorce.

IF you are in that situation, let me share not two, but THREE situations involving men in prison and women who tried so hard to bear with their greed.

Example one: A few years ago while I was writing for a prison support site, a woman emailed me about the idea that her loved one may be cheating on her by getting visits from another woman while he was doing time. She heard from another person, and ended up confronting him about it. He admitted almost as much, and she emailed me to ask for my advice. She planned to go visit him on the next visit, and tell him to his face that she is through with him.

I thought that was not a good idea at all.

I advised her to cut her ties and let him go…there is no need to physically go to the prison, waste your time and money and gas, to visit a man that is not true to you. She disagreed, and said she was going anyway. So she did…

The next time she emailed me, she told me she had to go to the hospital…the man slapped her so hard at that visit that he may have fractured her jaw….

I felt so bad for her, but I KNEW that was not the right move. She saw the signs, but refused to take the best action. Going to visit a man in prison to tell him off, during a visit, is NOT a good idea. And sadly she paid a price for that.

Example two: A supporter from Canada emailed me about a man she was communicating with, and was concerned that he was starting to get too greedy. He was always asking for money, and more money, and it was getting to the point that she was starting to think that he is only after her money. It wasn’t that she was wealthy, but he was always asking for money. Even when she told him that she didn’t have that much to spare, it seemed that he would find a way to manipulate her to send him something. Sometimes he would lie and say he needed it for something, sometimes he would play the “sad” role for sympathy.

She said she wanted to go visit him, to determine for herself if he was sincere or not. I respectfully told her that I felt that if the pattern of what he does is about money, then he does not care about her. She kinda knew that was true, but she felt that this was something she HAD to do. So she took the trip from Canada to the US to visit this man.

In her message to me after the visit, she was sure that this guy didn’t care about her at all. The visit was more about him trying to get her to send money, or MORE money, and by the time the visit was over, she knew that he was not the person she once thought he was. She decided it was over, and she told me she would not see him anymore.

I was glad to hear that, but I also cautioned her about what may happen. Lots of times guys who use women like to call their bluff. If you have been sending them money, and they have been abusing your sincerity, they will call your bluff to see if you have the guts to leave them. They think that after a few weeks, or a few months, they can get back in touch with you, smooth things over, and get right back to pinching money out of you…believe me folks, many do this.

I cautioned the lady to be aware of that if he sends you a letter a few weeks later, trying to play on your sympathies. About a month or so later, she emails me back, telling me that what I warned her about is EXACTLY what happened. The guy wrote a letter trying to get her to send him some money, because he claimed he really needed it to pay some debts. But she didn’t fall for it, and told me she was done with him, and has moved on.

Example three: another very kind supporter of my blogs emailed me often about a loved one she had in prison, and her concerns for him once he got out. I think of all the people who followed my blogs, she was likely my #1 reader, and a very kind supporter. I spent a lot of time emailing her, and many blogs I wrote was to help her get through the difficulties of waiting for a loved one to come home.

But when he DID come home, things weren’t as nice as they thought. Her loved one wasn’t as compassionate with her as he was in prison, and there was the fear that he had gone back to drugs. She allowed him to stay in her house but he wasn’t pulling his weight. It got so bad that she could not allow him to stay with her, especially since she has a child of her own.

Having put him out, it wasn’t long before he was back in jail, where he tried to get back with her. While in jail, he seemed to say the right things, and because she has a kind heart, she was willing to give him another chance. When he got out, she allowed him to stay with her again, but shortly afterwards, the relationship fell apart again. He was getting in trouble again, not working and possibly back on drugs.

She ended up having to put him out, and decided that although she loved him, this was just not working, and was making her life a living hell. Until he got himself together, she could not have anything to do with him.

Folks, as much as I would love to defend ex felons, as guys that made a mistake and wish only to be given a second chance…some guys are clearly out there to take from you, and to take without sincerity.

When I was in prison, I didn’t get much money. Any money I got came from my mother, or once or twice from one of my professors. I didn’t have a girlfriend or wife or significant other sending me money, but if I did, I would have been most grateful for it. Yet many guys in prison feel that their girlfriends or wives OWE him money…correct me if I am wrong, but who is in prison…and who is in society working their butts off for a living?

It troubles me when guys do that, because they make it hard for ex felons to get a foothold in business. If I opened a restaurant and had top quality food, but if they knew I was an ex felon, my business would very likely fail, because I would be seen as a con man. Heck, people might think I’m running a drug ring behind the restaurant or all the food is stolen from another location…who knows?

But the fact is that there are indeed guys you just cannot trust. How can you tell the difference. As an ex felon, a way to tell is two fold: Look at the pattern and look at the sincerity.

Sincerity is important, because you will know much about a person in what they say. Patterns are critical because it tells you what the person NORMALLY does. I can say I love you once, and hate your guts, but if over a period of time I show it and say it, then there can be no argument of my love for you. Even if there are times where I am not happy, or if I am frustrated, you know that normally, I would say I love you.

If you read my blogs, you see both. You see my sincerity in how I am willing to write pages to help you understand prison issues. If you have emailed me, you know I answer my emails and try my best to help. If you read my stuff on the prison support sites, you know I don’t do like a lot of folks on Prison Talk and copy and paste 10,000 times, “hi and welcome to PTO”. If I share something, I go into detail because I want to help.

If you see the sincerity and the pattern of what I do, there should be little doubt that I am trying to do my best to help, and YES, to make an income. But if the pattern you see is insincerity, then you already know what that person is about.

If a man in prison keeps begging for money, and threatens to leave you, or comes up with excuses for you to send money, then you may already have your answer. The real question is, what are you going to do about it? Many people try to hold on, hoping that things will change, but allow that same man to con them out of hundreds or thousands of dollars.

You can’t fake sincerity…you might be able to lie once or twice, but the pattern will ultimately tell if you mean what you say or not. I get frustrated from time to time here, some of you have read my blogs on my disappointment with life after prison, but I keep coming back to share what I can, to help others. It isn’t easy, but I know it helps many people. Yet no matter how hard I try, I will always be seen by people as a con, only because that is what they have decided to believe.

Sometimes a con is a con, and if you see the pattern, the best thing to do is to step away from the situation, and take control of your life. If the situation brings pain and heartache to you, then let it go. If not for good, then at least for awhile.

Anyway, I hope this helps a bit, now I gotta take care of a certain peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I have been dreaming of…until then……..


Entry filed under: girlfriends with boyfriends in prison, God and prison, inmates, jail, LostVault, mothers with sons in prison, prison, prison abuse, prison blogs, prison books, prison cards, prison food, prison jobs, prison mail, prison pen pals, prison support sites, Prison Talk Online, Prisonbid, rehabilitation, son in prison.

#132 Six stages of prison mentality #134 What if he WAS innocent?

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