Being filmmakers at heart, we use the power of storytelling to introduce more context on behalf of underprivileged defendants facing prison.

ZALTHIEL

Probation Department Recommended

Prison Sentence: 78-98 Months

After Sentencing Video: 48 Months

In federal criminal cases, prior to sentencing, the probation department does a thorough analysis of the case and defendant, drafts a comprehensive study, and provides the judge with their view and recommendation for the sentence.

For Zalthiel, their recommendation was between 78 & 98 months prison sentence.

Zalathiel’s immigration journey to the United States, allowed him to acquire a degree in Merchant Marine Engineering but as a foreign national, denied him placement in government service. This did not dissuade him. Realizing his strength and passion for sales and marketing, he transitioned from industrial engineering into entrepreneurship and customer service. 

A few years ago, an opportunistic conman named Barrientos approached Zal and exploited his strengths as a “people person” by placing him in charge of Marketing & Communications in the company he was forming. Barrientos, however, always left Zal in the dark about the actual mechanics of the operation by stipulating he personally would control the legal side.

Zal believed so completely that the business and its mission were legitimate that he unwittingly exposed his closest family and friends to risk by recruiting them as straw buyers based on their strong credit histories.

In addition to his business talents, Zal is a humble and spiritual person who has spent years volunteering his time through his church, teaching the youth how to express themselves musically through the guitar, saxophone, piano, and many other instruments. Through music he was able to mentor teens on their life journey and by doing so, he has had a strong impact on their lives.

Zal, along with many people in his closest circles, fell prey to Barrientos' schemes due to his aggressive and highly persuasive deception that if everyone invested in his business, they would be able to save their homes at a time when the housing market was collapsing. When Zal realized things were going south, he was slow to act because he was confused and overwhelmed by the magnitude of the fraud, and the humiliation and shame he felt clouded his judgment and paralyzed him. He went into “duck and cover mode”.

Eventually, Zal had to face his family, friends and co-workers and let them know that Barrientos had fled the country with everyone's money and that they had all been swindled out of their life savings and properties. Zal quickly mortgaged his own house to pay the employees their final paychecks. He then lost his home and ended up with not even enough money to hire a lawyer to defend himself.

 

It took us eight weeks to produce, prep, film and edit the video. After Shari delivered the film to the court, everyone was still unsure of what the judge and prosecution would decide. At the court hearing, the judge handed down his sentence commenting that the video had given him a much better understanding of Thiel and what his involvement in the crime was. He subsequently gave Thiel much less time than that the prosecution was asking for.

"You are an amazing giver of your time and talents!!!!

"Thank you for all your love & support! What seemed like a for sure 30 years sentence all the way down to just 48 months! Love you guys!"

                                                                                       "Zalthiel Aguila"

Michael Wilhelm (38), from Vallejo, CA, supported himself and his family working in the construction field for most of his professional life. After a serious back injury on a construction job while in his mid-20’s, he was prescribed Vicodin, Norco and other opioids for pain which became the adjuvant for his dependency on pain-killers. 

He had experimented with drugs as a teenager but after the death of his adoptive mother in his early 20’s and the suicide of a very close friend, became depressed and began using opioids as a way to deal with his grief. Michael realized he had a problem and sought help from a specialist. He checked himself into rehab on two separate occasions, paying for the treatment out of his own pocket because he felt the need was so great. 

After his first 90-day detox program when he was 30, he stayed sober for approximately a year and a half before relapsing into addiction again. While working on a construction site, a fellow employee suggested to him that he should try using Fentanyl. He said it was easy to obtain online, and recommended several sites where he could purchase it right away. Mail-order pharmacies in China seemed a more legitimate way to purchase drugs than from dangerous street vendors. These online pharmacies offer opioids at cheaper prices and can deliver any quantity requested at any time. Michael started purchasing from these sites until his arrest by federal agents. He was brought to trial, found guilty and while waiting for sentencing, was offered multiple rehabilitative services-all of which he embraced and completed successfully. He and his entire family are so appreciative that the therapy and rehab programs were made available. Michael has now been sober since January of 2016.  

Michael is a dedicated husband and father. He is extremely involved in his two sons athletic and academic endeavors. He attends Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, sees a psychiatrist regularly and takes Suboxone, (a medication to treat opiate addiction).

Since his conviction for possession included an "intent to sell", Michael expected to be given a very stiff sentence. He, his wife Marie and two sons are so thankful that he was given probation so that he can continue to support his family while staying focused on his recovery. 

ZALATHIEL

Probation Recommended Sentence: 78 - 98 Months

After Sentencing Video: Forty Eight Months

In federal criminal cases, prior to sentencing, the probation department does a thorough analysis of the case and defendant, drafts a comprehensive study, and provides the judge with their view and recommendation for the sentence.

For Zalathiel, their recommendation was between 78 - 98 months.

MICHAEL

Probation Recommended Sentence: 60-120 Months

After Sentencing Video: Zero Time

In federal criminal cases, prior to sentencing, the probation department does a thorough analysis of the case and defendant, drafts a comprehensive study, and provides the judge with their view and recommendation for the sentence.

For Michael, their recommendation was 60-120 months.

Return On Investment

1,736.43%

A by-product of the reduced sentence is that there is a substantial savings to taxpayers. While it is not our primary motivation, or purpose to save taxpayers money, it is an important benefit.

We Helped Save Taxpayers an Estimated:

$170,019.00

Cost of Video

$8,780.00

A by-product of the reduced sentence is that there is a substantial savings to taxpayers. While it is not our primary motivation or purpose to save

taxpayers money, it is an important benefit.

COMPLETE PICTURE

www.completepicture.org

Beshiba was raised by a single mother who suffered from Substance-Use-Disorder (SUD). Because of this, her childhood was filled with untold perils, uncertainty, instability, and neglect. The environment she grew up in effected her schooling, self-confidence, social development, and overall health and well being. She moved constantly between caregivers, which caused her emotional pain, loneliness and a sense of extreme isolation. She often had to worry about how her basic needs would be met on a daily basis, facing hunger, lack of heat and no electricity. 

Growing up around drug use and drug addiction had a negative impact on Beshiba’s over-all mental and emotional health and in particular, her concepts of normative behavior. Often in circumstances like hers, the family member without the addiction begins to draw their sense of self-worth by becoming reliant on their role of providing care for their addicted loved one.

Notwithstanding her troubled childhood, Beshiba became a responsible and nurturing parent to her two sons, as well as a steadfast caregiver to her elderly mother. Both sons excelled academically and were active in basketball, football, baseball, and just about every other sport. Her entire family was so proud when her eldest son was accepted into a prestigious university on a football scholarship. During the winter break, he came home to visit and on Christmas day, tragically drowned in a lake near their home.

Shortly after the tragic loss of her son, she lost her livelihood when her truck caught on fire through no fault of her own. This event helped to further destabilize her emotionally. She had very little support and no counseling. Grieving from the loss of her son, Beshiba fell into cycles of self-harming behavior such as engaging in risky behavior and becoming a victim. At this very vulnerable time in her life, she committed a non-violent crime that let to her conviction and a looking 27-month prison sentence.

 

Many members of Beshiba’s community volunteered to be interviewed on her behalf, including her college English teacher, her pastor and her mother’s doctor. They spoke of her fortitude, honesty, caring disposition and potential to achieve her dream to become a counselor.

Since being sentenced to probation and not to prison, Beshiba continues to be the sole provider and caregiver to her son and her aging mother and is still attending college in pursuit of a degree in the healing arts.

To find out if one of our videos is right for you, or to learn more about our step by step process:

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  At Complete Picture, we recognize

that individuals have value to their

family and community even if,

they have committed a crime.

                                         

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COMPLETE PICTURE

Headquarters:   Fremont, CA  94536    323.683.5689