When you are seeking employment after being released from jail or prison, keep a positive perspective. Truth be told, felons can become successful even after a life in prison. The following is a list of 10 of the most successful convicted felons, if they can do it, you can too. If you are looking for a job, please search here.
10 Most Successful Convicted Felons
#1 – Kevin Mitnick
You wouldn’t think that a former computer hacker, who was also listed on the FBI’s List of Most Wanted Criminals, would eventually launch his own security firm. However, that is exactly what Kevin Mitnick did – he turned a lemon-type history into “lemonade” success. Mitnick was exceptionally enterprising when he was a teen but took the wrong path along the way.
At the tender age of 16, the computer guru hacked into Digital Equipment Corporation’s computer network. He also absconded with the company’s software reports. Arrested in 1995, Mitnick served seven years in prison. After serving time, Mitnick went on to found Mitnick Security – a company that assists companies in discovering security issues in their computer systems.
#2 – Frank William Abagnale
Beginning as a teen, Frank William Abagnale wrote a total of $2.5 million in fraudulent checks. He also was successful in posing as a college professor, attorney, physician, and pilot. His exploits led to a charge where he served five years in a French prison. He was released from confinement under the condition that he would work for the U.S. Government and advise them on fraud-related cases.
Abagnale now mans a fraud consulting company that is designed to assist corporations, law enforcement agencies, and financial institutions on security and fraud. The story of Abagnale’s life was profiled in the movie “Catch Me If You Can,” which starred Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio and was directed by Steven Spielberg.
# 3 – Kweisi Mfume
While Kweisi Mfume has served time in jail, he also has had an illustrious career as a Congressman. The U.S. representative has also served as the President of the NAACP. The former high-school dropout turned his life around by enrolling in college. Mfume went on to obtain a graduate degree from the prestigious school, John Hopkins University.
#4 – Junior Johnson
A former alcohol smuggler, Junior Johnson changed his felony history by becoming a NASCAR driver. His fast-driving skills aided him in the transport of illegal liquor in the state of North Carolina. Those motor skills served him well later on the NASCAR circuit. The former illegal smuggler, who transported alcohol during the 40s and 50s, went on to win 50 out of 313 NASCAR races and finished in the top 10 in all of them.
#5 – Charles Colson
Spending a year in prison in connection with his involvement in Watergate, Charles Colson became the founder of a Prison Fellowship. The Fellowship is now the world’s biggest outreach organization for prisoners. Colson passed way in March 2012.
#6 – Larry Jay Levine
Now the overseer of Wall Street Prison Consultants, Larry Jay Levine was formerly sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. His felony charges covered offenses related to securities fraud, narcotics, obstruction of justice, and possession of weapons. After he was released from prison, Levine took the knowledge he gained from his criminal career and used it to serve as a prison consultant. He has provided legal services to both felons and attorneys.
#7 – Judge Greg Mathis
Judge Greg Mathis, the popular TV judge, once was a gang member and served time in connection with his former criminal association. When the judge was a teen, he joined a gang in Detroit, the city where he lived. After his mother was diagnosed with cancer, he decided to turn his life around. He received his GED and went on to attend Eastern Michigan University where he studied law. His popular court show has aired since 1999.
#8 – Danny Trejo
Although he works as an actor now, Danny Trejo once served time for drugs and robbery. Now, he only does these kinds of things in the movies. The former felon has been in around 200 films where he has taken on the role of a tough-guy character. Trejo says that he has served time in every penitentiary in the state of California.
#9 – Stephen Richard
Another felon who turned his life around and became a success was Stephen Richards, who became a Professor of Criminal Justice. The former felon spent a total of nine years in prison for selling drugs. The professor received a bachelor’s degree while in prison and received a graduate degree from the University of Wisconsin. He went on to receive his Ph.D. from Iowa State University. He has authored several books on criminology.
#10 – Michael Vick
Quarterback star Michael Vick served 18 months in prison for operating a dogfighting ring. He was charged with the crime in 2007 when he played for the Atlanta Falcons. He pled guilty to conspiracy charges before serving the prison sentence. After his release from prison, Vick went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. The football star also was involved in the creation of a documentary on BET following his life after prison, “The Michael Vick Project.”