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National Mortgage Professional
Nov 10, 2005

Life-saving lessons: The diary of a mortgage felon: Second chancesJerome MayneMortgage fraud The following article is part of a series by Jerome Mayne, a former mortgage broker who served two years in a federal prison, charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Since his release, Jerome has made numerous presentations across the country, detailing his ordeal and offering suggestions on how to avoid similar situations. For previous articles, visit www.mortgagepress.com, and for more information, visit the author's Web site at www.maynefelon.com. The following are excerpts from the journal entries of Jerome Mayne during his time in prison. August 24, 2000 I'm settling in, here at the halfway house. My old cellmate Ted from the Yankton, S.D. prison is also here and, ironically, they put us in the same room together. Even though everyone else here is also a criminal transitioning back into the real world, many of them come from higher-level prisons, violent and unknown. So, it's nice to be with someone familiar. Ted has been there for most of my downtime, so it's good to still have him around. I have a case manager. I don't know how someone qualifies for a position here, but apparently intelligence and communication skills are not required. She's in charge of me, though, so I must do what she says. She said that if I behave, I'll get a 48-hour pass to go home next weekend. The "child" treatment continues. I think I'll behave. The rules for a home weekend pass are very strict. When I think about it, I really can't believe they let us go home at all, since we're really still serving part of our sentences. They have a sophisticated, voice recognition computer system that will call me at home, at any time, and ask me to repeat the names of U.S. states. If my voice doesn't check out or respond, they'll send the authorities. I'm a little nervous about going "home." I mean, it's Pamela's home, not mine, despite what she says. Maybe I just feel uncomfortable because I can't contribute financially to the household. Pamela and I still have things to figure out about our relationship. She's been through all of this with me, which includes driving 650 miles to visit me every weekend while I was in prison. I know. I'm lucky. In a few weeks, I get to start my job with the school of improvisation. Again, I'm fortunate that Pamela and her business partner own this company and are offering me a job as the director of marketing. Since they both work out of their homes, they've installed a phone in their classroom space so that the halfway house can check up on me at any time during the day. I'll be working for someone, which is weird. I haven't worked for someone since about 1994. My salary will be $18,000 a year. Two years ago, I couldn't have imagined living on $18,000 a year. It's amazing how little you need when you have nowhere to spend money. August 28, 2000 I was given a two-hour pass today to go to the store for toiletries and clothes. I also opened a checking account at the bank. As I walked into the bank, I realized I was shaking. I had this fear that they'd discover I had just been released from prison. I kept thinking that the words "fraud and money laundering" were going to show up on their screen and the cops would rush in. They must have thought I was going to rob the place by the way I kept looking at the guards. I know it's completely irrational, but I cannot shake this feeling of guilt. It didn't help that my crime was committed while I was in a branch of the same bank. Not too smart. The halfway house is granting me my first 48-hour pass this weekend. That will be so strange. Pamela still has my--our--bed. It's been almost a year since I've slept on anything other than a plastic mattress. She's also going to pick up my two boys from Hudson, Wis. before she comes here to get me. Their mother allowed them to visit four times while I was in prison and I've spoken to them almost every week, but this will be different. For the first time in almost a year, they get to wake up to dad. September 4, 2000 Aside from the phone calls at all hours of the night by the halfway house computer system, this past weekend was incredible. I was with Pamela and the kids. Wow! I also started my job, today! I was released this morning, at 7:30 a.m., and I had to be back by 5:00 p.m., which was long enough for the first day. I kept checking to see that there was a dial tone at work because I was afraid that the phone might go out and they'd send in the cops. A staff member from the halfway house showed up to make sure I was there. I was. He said that he'll be stopping by randomly to check in on me. Where in the hell do they think I'm going to go? And what do they think I'm going to do, run out to a mortgage company and write a fraudulent loan? I suppose they think so. September 29, 2000 It's been more than a month, now, and I'm getting used to this halfway house routine. All in all, I have to say that I'm pretty happy to be out of the prison. My brother got me an old, beat-up car, so I can go back and forth to work. I'm actually making some money, too, and my health benefits will kick in on Nov. 1. I get to go home on weekend passes, and my relationship with Pamela and my kids are starting to take shape again. I've settled into my room here at the halfway house with my old roommate Ted. We're on the fourth rewrite of our second screenplay. I'm starting to feel like a real member of society again. October 15, 2000 I can't believe it! I put in a request to work out of my home and it was granted. That means that each day from 7:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., I'll be in my house. Then, assuming I continue to behave, I can also go home on weekend passes. I can honestly see the light at the end of the tunnel now. I am eligible for home confinement at the end of January 2001. This means that I'll only have to check in with my case manager once a week. I'll still get those late-night phone calls from the halfway house computer system and I can't be out past 9:00 p.m., but it feels like I'm almost a free man again. I'll be completely done with my sentence on March 16, 2001. Then I start two years of probation. I don't know what I'll do for a career, because I don't think there's a future for me at my current job. They're a pretty small company and I know they can barely afford to pay my salary now. Maybe I can tell my story to people in the mortgage profession and let them know what really happens when you cross the line. I do have improvisation and stand-up comedy experience. Maybe I'll just continue to do comedy and get on "Saturday Night Live." It's good to dream, again. November 2, 2000 I went to see the doctor, today, because, for the past week, I've had a sharp pain in my right testicle. The urologist did an ultrasound and found a big black mass in the center, which he says is a tumor that must be removed. He can't be certain that it's cancer until a biopsy is done; however, the tumor must still be removed immediately because if it is testicular cancer, it will spread to my lymphatic system quickly. My surgery is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 4. I'm lucky that my health insurance kicked in, yesterday. I can't write, anymore, right now. I'm in a fog. November 3, 2000 It's Friday night and I'm home on a weekend pass. I told the halfway house about my surgery and they said it's okay to have it over the weekend. How nice of them. I don't have to be back until the doctor releases me from the hospital, which will probably be sometime on Sunday. The halfway house expects to see me back by Sunday night. They declined my request to stay at home to recover until Wednesday or Thursday. My only alternative is to transfer to the federal prison in Rochester, Minn., where there's a medical facility. That's where the crazy criminals go to stay and the old criminals go to die. I don't really care who's there--it's still prison! I'd be locked up, again. No thanks. I'll stay at the halfway house on weeknights and "home office" on weekdays. Pamela said she'd pick me up and take me home everyday. Tomorrow morning, I'm going in for surgery to remove what is almost certainly a cancerous tumor. I can't believe this. What the hell? Cancer? Now I have cancer? How could I have gotten cancer? I wonder how long I've had it. I did some research on the Internet tonight and it appears to be pretty serious. The doctors have a good handle on testicular cancer, though--they know how it spreads and they know how to stop it. But I guess people still die from this. Lance Armstrong had testicular cancer, and he's still alive. I wonder if I'll need chemotherapy. November 5, 2000 I was released from the hospital at noon today and rested at home until 5:00 p.m. Then, Pamela brought me back here to the halfway house. She was with me the entire time at the hospital. She slept in the chair Saturday night. She took care of me today at home. What have I done to deserve her? The guys have been stopping by my room here at the halfway house, tonight, to see how I'm doing. Ted has taken over as the host for our room. He bought me the book written by Lance Armstrong about testicular cancer. I have a good friend, here. The doctor said that I'll feel better by the end of the week. He's got me on some pretty heavy painkillers. That's good. Keep 'em coming! November 9, 2000 I went back in to see the doctor, today, and their tests confirmed that the tumor is cancerous. It's an extremely aggressive form of cancer that has probably spread into my lymphatic system, so the doctor suggests a second surgery to remove selected lymph nodes from my chest and abdominal cavity. He wasn't trying to scare me, but he said that the procedure ranks up there with open heart surgery. Fantastic! We have scheduled the second surgery for the day after Thanksgiving, and I'll probably be recovering in the hospital for a week or so. The halfway house said that as soon as I return, I need to get back to the routine. November 20, 2000 I am scared, because I have cancer. I know that people die from cancer, but for some reason, I know that everything will be all right. I just don't see myself dying, right now. December 8, 2000 The second surgery went fine. They removed several cancerous lymph nodes, one of which was the size of a golf ball and lodged up near my heart. The incision runs from below my waist to my sternum, and it hurts. Thank God and science for painkillers. Pamela dropped me off at the halfway house, tonight, and I had to practically crawl up the front steps to the door. This is so ridiculous. Can't I just go home? Haven't I had enough punishment for my crime? I really just want to go home! December 9, 2000 Pamela is pregnant. She went to the doctor and, apparently, she conceived at the end of October. That was just before my diagnosis. People are calling it a miracle baby. I am, too. December 16, 2000 Today, I started a six-week program of chemotherapy. I feel a little crappy, tonight, and I'm told it will get much worse. The doctor prescribed something called Marinol pills, which are similar to marijuana. Yeah, the halfway house staff loves me, now. December 18, 2000 I was called in to my case manager's office to discuss the results of my most recent drug test. She said I tested positive for heroin and pot and that this is how inmates get sent back to prison. I told her to look in my file to see the prescriptions for Hydrocodone and Marinol. How many fingers am I holding up? February 10, 2001 I finally feel like writing, again. I am now on home confinement until the end of my sentence, next month. Ironically, I was allowed to go on home confinement the same week my chemotherapy ended. Real funny. I only have to check in at the halfway house twice a week. I'll still have the phone calls from the computer at all hours of the night and I can't be out past 9:00 p.m., but at least I get to sleep at home. I had to go off the painkillers a week after my chemo ended, and the withdrawal was pretty horrible. I guess I've been a real ass. Pamela's pregnancy is progressing just fine, and the miracle baby will be born in July. The doctor said my hair will start growing back in a few weeks and I'll start to regain the weight that I've lost. I'll be checking in with him, regularly, over the next year to make sure that the cancer is gone. I've started doing stand-up at open stages around Minneapolis. I want to get my comedy chops back. I still don't know what I'm going to do with my life, but I've been through a lot and I feel like I can handle anything. I have an incredible partner in Pamela and a new baby on the way. I've never been a very religious man, but there must be some truth to the saying, "God will never give you more than you can handle." The experiences I've had in the past two years have been so incredible that my life will never be the same again. From here on out, whatever happens, I'm pretty sure that everything will be all right. Whew! Talk about your second chances ... Jerome Mayne is a professional public speaker, dedicated to raising fraud awareness among finance industry professionals, through presentations, including "Fraud & Consequence." He may be reached by phone at (612) 919-3007, by e-mail at [email protected] or visit www.maynefelon.com.
Published
Nov 10, 2005
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