By Justin French, former real estate developer and convicted felon
You’ve probably heard by now that I’ve gone ahead and just pled guilty to a pretty slick tax credit scheme that made me millions of dollars in other people’s money during the past few years. I won’t lie: It was a lot of fun while it lasted. I bought a Range Rover or two, hit the Vegas strip more than I care to remember (and I don’t remember much!), and lived in a sweet-ass mansion in Richmond’s near West End.
Just so I’m clear, though, because I’ve been hearing some things in the media: Does pleading guilty really mean I have to relinquish all of my over-the-top, downright exorbitant tastes and indulgences? Because I’m hearing that may be the case, and that would suck something awful.
Man, if I’d known that a plea agreement would still mean I’d be forced to give up everything I own and love and face up to 30 years in federal prison, I may never have admitted to doing all this stuff. Particularly if this means no more eating fresh-made sushi off the body of a naked supermodel in my living room.
I just don’t understand. Here I am, prime candidate for the most self-entitled person in the city, admitting to all the little people in Richmond that I stole somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million and $20 million from state and federal tax credit programs, and you’re telling me I have to give up my precious art collection?
To be honest, I don’t really remember the exact amount I stole. It could be more than what those attorney guys said, who knows. And if my actions require federal prison time, well then I beg of you, please let me take the original Lichtenstein with me to hang on my cell wall.
Man, this is going to be rough.
Okay, perhaps I can bargain here a bit with those law types. I deserve a little wiggle room, considering that I’ve just admitted to wire fraud and one count of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions as part of my plea deal with federal prosecutors. Wow, that is a mouthful!
Not unlike the mouthfuls of prime-cut tenderloin steak I would eat up to five times a week at Ruth’s Chris during my illegal development spree’s heyday.
So, all that being said, can I keep the Fabergé egg collection in my basement? The TAG Heuer with the diamond-laced platinum bezel? What about Burl Ives’ 1958 Oscar for best supporting actor that we used as a doorstop for our bedroom, which I purchased for a sweet 400K? My jewel-encrusted ice bucket? The ticket for the first commercial space flight? And I’m not sure how I’ll be able to scale back nearly $150 in daily iTunes purchases either, so we’re going to need to meet in the middle on this one.
What about the house I own in the Bahamas? The yacht I own in the Bahamas? The six pool boys I own in the Bahamas? Can I keep any of it?
No? Nothing? Fine. Take it. Take it all. But just remember: You can take my home, and you can take my other home, and you can take my other home, and you can take my personal belongings, and you can take my pet Bengal tiger Ralph, but you can never take away my overtly pretentious demeanor or the pompous way I carry myself in public. That’s here to stay.
Oh my God, I just realized something: Does federal prison mean I have to give up my iPhone, too?