Tommy grew up in the projects and had an alcoholic father. He wanted his 5 kids to have a better life and a better father. When he made his first trip to buy the drugs (from the pill doctors), it was his first involvement with drugs. He never smoked pot or took drugs and to this day, has never had a beer.
In 1996 he needed help with his taxes, which he had fallen behind on. He hired a tax accountant, who died before straightening things out for him (he was old). He then hired a second tax accountant/attorney, who also died (he was young). In 2011, he hired an expensive bankruptcy lawyer, to get things finally straightened out, who came highly recommended by his cousin. For some reason, even though the IRS had never indicated Tommy was on their radar, this lawyer thought it wise to go to them preemptively. This was a very bad move because it led to the IRS seizing his bank accounts. [Telling the IRS about the two dead accountants was too much like ‘the dog that ate my homework’ and contributed to the seizure of his accounts. They don’t like it when they think they’re being jerked around. (Couldn’t they have googled their obits? That was easy.)] His business went under immediately, with no money to pay his people and no bank accounts in which to deposit or cash customer checks.
When he was able to get more jobs rolling, and without a bank to even have a checking account, his buddy, who still worked for him, would cash his checks. [When the DEA started their investigation, this was deemed to be money-laundering.] It was at this time his buddy proposed to him that he drive to Florida, for the purpose of buying drugs. He did, and bought 130 oxycontin pills, for which he was paid $250. He refused to do it again, until 3 months later, when once again struggling to pay the bills, he drove to St. Louis with two other “buyers”. Those two became DEA informants later on. Before everyone was arrested, he made 5 more trips to Florida and Arizona.
Tommy was given a court-appointed attorney, a Public Defender, who Tommy calls his “Public Pretender”. This guy was a former federal prosecutor who used to work for the prosecutor was was trying this case for the gov’t. At their first meeting he told Tommy, “Don’t talk, don’t cooperate. I will get you out on bail, and the max they get you sentenced to would be 70 months.” After the P.D./P.P. met with the prosecutor, the only thing Tommy was told from then on was “160 months”. The prosecutor threatened Tommy with going after his wife and two of his children if he didn’t take the plea deal.
The sentencing was in 2013. All 39 took the plea deals. The average sentence given to the “ring” was 8 yrs. The true leader of the “ring”, the wife of Tommy’ buddy, got 2 yrs. Her husband got 30 yrs; his dad 22 yrs. The 2 guys who went with Tommy to St. Louis were rewarded for their roles as informers. They got off scot-free. Of the rest, whoever talked the most got the best deal. One guy who had an extensive prior prison record (Cat. VI) is already home.
Tommy was a Category I (no prior record), Level 34 (points in the federal sentencing guideline). He was given 5 points for not cooperating, 2 pts. for money laundering, and 3 pts. for leadership. His sentence – 160 months (13 yrs 4 months). He says if he had been correctly sentenced for the crime of which he is guilty, it would have been 24 months.
In 2013, at age 51, he had a wife, 5 kids (16-32 yrs), and 5 grandkids. His mother, who lived with them, passed away in 2012. She had cancer and dementia.
Tommy has served 5 yrs and with certain deductions that he’s received, has 5 years to go.