Case Study

Tom Finley: From Incarceration to Home Confinement


Reduction in Sentence

Recognized for Comprehensive Narrative

Lifelong Service Acknowledged

Growing up in small-town Oklahoma in the 1950s, I learned the value of hard work and integrity early on. In 1969, I enlisted in the United States Navy and served six years on nuclear submarines. After my service, I earned multiple advanced degrees to become a tax and banking lawyer, enjoying a stellar reputation for meticulous, honorable legal work. However, around 2018, I prepared an investor prospectus for a new company that contained fraudulent information about the company’s owner. I took full responsibility for approving this misinformation and pled guilty to wire fraud.

After receiving my indictment, I felt shocked and paralyzed. After a lifetime of exceptional service, I could hardly believe I was facing possible incarceration. I spent two and a half years fearing the worst possible result. Then, with only seven days remaining before my sentencing hearing, I reached out to Justin Paperny at White Collar Advice (WCA). Justin and Brad Rouse immediately started working with me to prepare my personal narrative.

Brad spoke with me over the weekend to gather necessary information about my childhood, military service, career high points, and personal struggles. Justin and Brad turned the interview notes into a draft document. Brad also helped my friend write an important character reference letter to the court, and Justin worked with me to compose an oral statement to the judge for allocution.

This work did more than provide input to the judge that was absolutely critical to the best outcome; it also enabled me to evaluate my own life as one of dignity and accomplishment, despite my mistakes. The telephone discussions provided a lifeline of hope when the weight was almost crushing. WCA provided a way to do the hard work that no family member could help with.

When I arrived at court for my sentencing hearing, I was prepared for the worst. Due entirely to Justin and Brad’s last-minute emergency efforts and skills, the judge sentenced me to home confinement instead of incarceration. My best analogy to explain my experience is that it was like being adrift in the open ocean, going down for the last time, and being thrown a life preserver labeled “White Collar Advice.”

The shock of a criminal indictment paralyzed me, and I found it hard to believe I faced possible incarceration. Most WCA clients are not career criminals; they live good, honest lives until something goes terribly wrong. Justin works hard to shift his clients’ attitudes so they make wise choices before sentencing. Clients also take comfort in knowing they are not alone.

Most of Justin’s team members have been through the system already. They can communicate with defendants in ways that others cannot. I benefitted from speaking with people who had been in the same position. By telling my story, I gave the judge a broader context for my unlawful acts.

I have no doubt that WCA turned a losing game into a win. They took the ball to the one-yard line and boosted me with the confidence to carry it across the goal line in my oral statement to the judge. I am eternally grateful to Brad and Justin. I only wish I had acted sooner.