Case Study

Brenda Campbell: From 33 Months to 20 Months


Reduction in Sentence


Month Reduction

Acknowledged for Honesty and Remorse

When I grew up on Inlet Island near Seattle, I never imagined I’d one day face federal charges. I worked multiple jobs in a pizza shop, a bunk bed factory, and at the local newspaper while earning excellent grades. After college, I enjoyed success at a home security company and a major semiconductor distributor before becoming the assistant comptroller at an RV dealership. Unfortunately, I made personal purchases with company credit cards and falsified journal entries to cover them up. After a visit from the FBI, I accepted responsibility for my actions in federal court.

Finding White Collar Advice (WCA) online was a turning point for me. The detailed materials and personal examples helped me focus on creating a positive future rather than dwelling on past mistakes. I read Ethics in Motion by Justin Paperny and reflected on how I’d become numb to the shady business practices in my industry. Following WCA’s suggestions, I arranged to speak at Whitworth College and the University of San Diego about my case, making no excuses for my bad choices. Turning my difficult moment into an opportunity to help others felt good.

Working with WCA to create my narrative was transformative. Nobody wakes up one day and decides to break the law. The process opened up the big picture of my life, including what led up to my case. The narrative helped me heal by allowing me to own my mistakes. When it was time for my Pre-Sentence Interview, I was ready.

The government originally asked for a 33-month sentence. To prepare for my sentencing hearing, I composed a statement to read aloud, expressing remorse and focusing on the victims. In addition to my personal narrative, I submitted student feedback from my presentations. The judge acknowledged my narrative, noting that I’d taken ownership without making excuses. He asked about my speaking to students and mentioned points from the letters that stood out to him. Ultimately, the judge departed downward from the government’s recommendation and sentenced me to 20 months.

Without White Collar Advice, my outcome wouldn’t have been nearly as favorable. I would have put all my trust in my lawyer, which would have been a mistake. My lawyer wasn’t as invested in me as the WCA team was.

At the time I broke the law, I worked in a negative environment with several unscrupulous operators. It took time to focus on my actions without rationalization. The WCA team encouraged me to reflect on my whole story—high points and low points. Speaking openly and honestly to young people about what went wrong helped me, and the judge appreciated my candor and willingness to help students.

I feel better than I have in a while. The waiting process was hard, and I felt depressed and anxious. Now, the end is in sight. I’m planning for a happier, more fulfilling life and focusing on what’s important. It’s a real reset, and I feel excited about the future.