Jeff Krantz is a member of our White Collar Support Group that meets on Zoom on Monday evenings. We will celebrate our 300th meeting on March 14, 2022, 7 pm ET, 4 pm PT.
I cleared the obligations of my prosecution five years prior to coming to the White Collar Support Group. I had navigated the legal aspects of the ordeal relatively successfully, receiving three years probation and having paid down my fine and restitution a month after my sentencing. Nonetheless, as time passed, I found myself becoming increasingly isolated and I struggled with navigating day-to-day life.
There are some Mondays when I’m running late and not particularly enthused about logging on to the weekly meeting. I rush to make dinner, get it on the table and log on by seven. Most nights I make it in time for “announcements and resource sharing”. Sometimes I don’t appear in my rectangle until the topic leader has started to speak. I’ll do an initial scan across my screen to see who’s on the call while I settle in for the next hour. In short order, my resistance has dissipated and I’ve become absorbed as the meeting proceeds. When new people introduce themselves, they identify where they reside in the process: whether they are being investigated, soon to be sentenced, or are facing a report date. Often they are short of resources and information and desperate for a life line that will give them some guidance on how to proceed forward. Others arrive better provisioned or they are past the legal mechanics of their ordeal. The bottom having come out from under their lives, they seek comradeship and guidance to cope with the long term fallout of their ill considered choices. The twenty to thirty or so participants who join the weekly group represents the continuum of experiences had by those engulfed in the realm of white collar crime. Each one at some point or another has either sought or gained the support of the group and similarly, purely in being present, each person showing up provides support and comfort to those who arrive at the group in need.
The meeting has wound down and Bill is speaking. As always, he’s a fount of information, delivered in a low-key, self-effacing manner. Sun-je, the last to speak, is tuned into the message of the night’s speaker, as he sums up the overall vibe of the evening. The session comes to a close, Jeff thanks everyone in attendance and reminds them of the Spiritual Urgent Care meeting on Thursday morning. It’s 8:15 and we all wave as one by one we disappear off of our respective screens.
Over the week, I text Jeff to see if he has some time to chat about a justice-related non-profit organization with a promising job opportunity and whose vetting process has proven to be challenging to navigate. We speak for a while later in the day and his counsel is pragmatic and helps to take some of the weight of the frustration off of my shoulders. Later in the week, Craig and I meet in Brooklyn for coffee. We both live in New York and have been talking about getting together to meet in person but I’ve also sought him out to get his advice on building a writing practice. Finally, I called M to talk about her plea. She knows that the deal is fundamentally a good one but it bothers her that she doesn’t have an option but to take it. She knows that my circumstance was similar to hers and we spend 40 minutes or so venting about the unfairness of our respective situations with at least half of that time laughing at the absurdity of it all.
The week closes out with planning for next week’s meeting already having begun. Texts and emails fly steadily back and forth while queries and articles get posted up on Slack. The group is active throughout the week, riding atop the myriad crests and troughs of victories and setbacks. A steady flow of information keeps things moving irregularly, but undeniably forward, the inexorable benefit of people supporting each other, bringing us all a little more into ourselves. – Jeff Krantz, NYC