NORFOLK -- A former stock broker who spent time in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal fraud charges has some advice for former Governor Bob McDonnell ahead of his sentencing on Tuesday.
Justin Paperny was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to taking part in a ponzi scheme while working as a stock broker at UBS Financial Services.
After his release from prison, Paperny went to work as a consultant advising other federal defendants preparing for a federal criminal trial or prison time.
Paperny talked with 13News Now via Skype from his home in California.
"The time leading up to his surrender to prison is often worse than prison," Paperny said of Bob McDonnell.
Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to sentence McDonnell to a decade in prison after he was convicted on corruption charges last year. Defense attorneys have asked he receive probation and be sentenced to 6,000 of intensive community service.
"Just from an outsider's view, I think probation or community service is too light, given the crime or even just going to trial," he said.
Paperny said he doubts McDonnell will get by without any prison time but he said he doesn't think he'll receive the ten years prosecutors are asking for, either.
Ultimately, it's up to Judge James R. Spencer to decide McDonnell's fate.
"Judges have discretion to do whatever they'd like," Paperny said. "I've seen guys expect eight years get eighteen and i've seen guys expect five years and get probation."
If McDonnell does get prison time, Paperny said it is likely he will be sent to a minimum security prison camp.
There are two such camps in Virginia: one in Petersburg and another in Lee. The Federal Bureau of Prisons uses a formula that considers available bed space and a facilitiy's proximity to the inmate's home, among other factors, to decide where a prison will go.
Both facilities feature fewer prison guards and more freedom for inmates, many of whom have been convicted of white collar crimes.
"I joke that part of the reason you see movies about prison that don't include prison camp is because no one would wath it," Paperny joked. "It would be quite boring."
Still, even with less drama, life in a prison camp can be long and tedious. Paperny said McDonnell will need to work ahead of time to prepare for life behind bars, if he receives a prison sentence.
"If he adjusts well, he can get a halfway house or home confinement sooner," Paperny explained. "I hope he uses this experience to help othes who could really benefit from him."
Even still, Paperny said life behind bars is just different than life as governor.
"When I went to prison, I remember trying to shake hands with the guard when I got there. I didn't know any better. He said we don't shake hands with inmates," Paperny recalled. "Having gone through it, you always wonder 'can I get through this? Does it ever end?' And then it does."