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Zalathiel’s immigration journey to the United States allowed him to acquire a degree in Merchant Marine Engineering. As a foreign national, he was denied placement in government service, but this did not deter him from realizing his strength and passion for sales and marketing.

 

A few years ago, an opportunistic con-man named Barrientos approached Thiel and exploited his strengths as a “people person” by placing him in charge of Marketing and Communications in the company he was forming that would ostensibly help people in troubled mortgages.  Barrientos, however, kept Thiel in the dark about the actual mechanics of the operation by stipulating he personally would control the legal side.  Being taken in by Barrientos’ charisma and dynamic intelligence, Thiel believed so completely that the business and its mission were legitimate that he unwittingly exposed his closest family and friends to financial risk by recruiting them as straw buyers based on their strong credit histories.

Eventually, Thiel 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. The disaster left Thiel bereft and paralyzed with confusion and shame. Thiel mortgaged his own house to pay the employees their final paychecks, then subsequently lost his home, unable to hire a lawyer to defend himself.

 

Thiel is a humble and spiritual person in a close-knit family.  His beloved children, having been through so much after their family’s financial catastrophe, rely on and look up to Thiel for his devotion to them and his unfaltering example of being a loving and giving representative of the church. He has spent years volunteering his time 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, has had a strong impact on their lives.

While Thiel is in prison, he will be missed by his church community, the many children that he teaches and most of all, his wife and children. His sentence was reduced from fifteen years down to four.

Zalathiel’s immigration journey to the United States allowed him to acquire a degree in Merchant Marine Engineering. As a foreign national, he was denied placement in government service, but this did not deter him from realizing his strength and passion for sales and marketing.

 

A few years ago, an opportunistic con-man named Barrientos approached Thiel and exploited his strengths as a “people person” by placing him in 

charge of Marketing and Communications in the company he was forming that would ostensibly help people in troubled mortgages.  Barrientos, however, kept Thiel in the dark about the actual mechanics of the operation by stipulating he personally would control the legal side.  Being taken in by Barrientos’ charisma and dynamic intelligence, Thiel believed so completely that the business and its mission were legitimate that he unwittingly exposed his closest family and friends to financial risk by recruiting them as straw buyers based on their strong credit histories.

 

Eventually, Thiel 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. The disaster left Thiel bereft and paralyzed with confusion and shame. Thiel mortgaged his own house to pay the employees their final paychecks, then subsequently lost his home, unable to hire a lawyer to defend himself.

 

Thiel is a humble and spiritual person in a close-knit family.  His beloved children, having been through so much after their family’s financial catastrophe, rely on and look up to Thiel for his devotion to them and his unfaltering example of being a loving and giving representative of the church. He has spent years volunteering his time 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, has had a strong impact on their lives.

While Thiel is in prison, he will be missed by his church community, the many children that he teaches and most of all, his wife and children. His sentence was reduced from fifteen years down to four.

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BRAD

As a young child, Brad was misdiagnosed and medicated for attention deficit disorder, when his mother steadfastly maintained that in actuality he needed treatment for bipolar disorder. When he was fourteen, Brad turned to street drugs in an attempt to regulate his moods, leading to a severe addiction to methamphetamine.

 

The Complete Picture video illuminated the mental health challenges and childhood trauma that ultimately contributed to Brad's criminal behavior, and how decades of being incarcerated were for offenses related to his Substance Use Disorder (SUD). 

 

We challenged the common misconception that SUD is a moral failure and focused rather on his mother's desperate pleas for an official mental health assessment, a proper scientific diagnosis, and subsequent medical treatment. Though Brad has been in and out of prison multiple times, he had never been diagnosed with a mental illness or received any help with his drug addiction. After we told his story, he was awarded the necessary drug rehabilitation in prison.

BOBBY

Before Bobby immigrated to the United States as a baby, he suffered a serious illness which required a blood transfusion. Unbeknownst to his family, he had been infected with HIV. The medications he was given throughout his childhood to treat the symptoms took a toll on his body over time, and after Bobby's first child was born, he became fearful that his young wife and son would be left pennyless upon his inevitable passing.

 

Due to having a "preexisting condition" Bobby could not purchase health insurance, and it was all that he, his wife, his father and mother could do to try to afford the thousands of dollars his HIV medication cost monthly. Desperate to afford his medication, and to leave his family with a semblance of financial security when he passed, Bobby made a grave mistake and committed a serious non-violent crime for financial gain.  

 

In the video we created, we explained the nuanced challenges and events that had ultimately culminated, like a perfect storm, in Bobby committing a crime that was extremely out of character from the upright manner in which he had always conducted himself. His family, legitimately concerned about Bobby's ability to endure the conditions in prison, asked for mercy and understanding from the judge. After the Complete Picture video and the resulting reduction in sentencing, we believe their pleas were heard.

COMPLETE PICTURE

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