The life I believe I was destined to live began when I walked through the doors of a prison where I would spend the next 40 months of my life.
Until that moment, I kept telling myself I hadn’t done anything wrong, that I was being bullied again, as I was as a child, and that my lawyers would save me.
But they couldn’t, because I had done something wrong. And now I had to pay for it.
Until then, my life seemed to parallel that of a Dickens’ novel. I was like Scrooge, bullied and laughed at as a child and then, as an adult, bullying others as I devoted myself to running successful businesses and making a lot of money while big parts of life seemed to pass me by. I made tens of millions of dollars thinking business success and money were all I would need to be happy. I was wrong, of course. But, like many other successful businessmen, I did not take the time to look up and see what I was missing.
I pushed so hard for success that I made mistakes. The worst was selling collectible coins as investments and not realizing there is a law that says anything sold as an investment must have a disclaimer that warns investors of the risks. When the government investigators showed up, they also decided I had overcharged customers on three percent of the coins I sold. Although neither the missing disclaimer nor my prices would have been illegal if I had been selling coins as collectibles, instead of investments, that is no excuse for what I did. I thought I could make more money selling to investors and the price I paid for what I had done ended up being 40 months in prison.
After leaving prison, I started a new business that bought coins, precious metals, and collectibles from people at temporary events held all across the country, and I decided that in my new life, the life I was truly destined to live, I would never again break any laws, either written or unwritten.
I soon had 125 people working with me, and we crisscrossed the country, traveling 42 weeks a year, setting up in hotels in almost every major city in America, and whenever the local media found out about my past, they wrote terrible articles about me and the business, calling me a con man and claiming we weren’t paying as much as our local competitors, even though we often paid more, and even though after 20 years in business and spending more than a billion dollars buying from more than half a million customers, there was not one complaint made to the Better Business Bureau or any other consumer protection agency. The bad part was that during that time on the road, I had affairs, some with women who worked for me, which was another big mistake.
I had been a successful businessman. I made millions of dollars in two separate businesses. I employed 375 people in one, 125 in the other. In one business, I helped people invest in hard assets as protection against inflation. In the other, I made a lot of people happy by giving them an opportunity to sell things they no longer wanted.