I don’t know how many of your listeners had ever went to the FBI and told them that they are stealing a billion dollars a year, but I can tell your listeners it was an interesting reaction. That phone in the FBI’s office was ringing off the hook. It reached the Attorney General. It reached the director of the FBI. This became the largest white collar price fixing case in U.S. history. If one goes to the FBI museum today at the FBI headquarters, it has all of the equipment that I wore undercover in the museum. Steven Soderbergh is the one who bought the rights for the book The Informant from the New York Times. He had a script written in the year 2000. We walked the red carpet with Matt Damon. We were at the premiere. I met those FBI agents at six o’clock in the morning Monday through Friday for three years. I wore a wire eight, nine and/or ten hours a day, every day for three years. It was one of the longest durations of anyone to wear a wire in U.S. history.
I was blowing leaves off of this driveway at three o’clock in the morning because I couldn’t sleep at night. I kept thinking, “What are these guys above me of one of the largest companies in the world, fifty-sixth largest companies in America, going to do to me when they learn that I turned them in and they are going to go to prison because of me? What are they going to do with me?”
In the end, I ended up telling on them by wearing a wire, and they ended up telling on me. We all went to prison. The four top executives at ADM but for different things. Three of them went to prison for price fixing, and I went to prison for that nine million dollar fraud.
As you can imagine, I got very depressed. I pulled my car in one of those garages. I had written a seventeen-page letter to my wife. I wrote letters to my three children and pulled my car in one of those garages and tried to kill myself. I could not imagine going to prison for nine years.
A man, his name was Ian House, he was CFO of a pharmaceutical company. I didn’t know him. He didn’t know me. He said if I would spend a few hours with him a week that he would introduce me to Jesus using this Operation Timothy that uses the Bible through scripture. It’s just an outline that leads you through scripture. Ian House poured his life into me.
My second week into prison, a man named Chuck Colson showed up. Like Ian House, he read about me in the newspaper. He read about me in the Washington Post. In the 1970’s Chuck Colson was the White House counsel for President Nixon. His office was right next to the Oval Office. Chuck Colson went to prison for the Watergate scandal in the 70’s. He read about me, and he saw a lot of himself when he was reading when he read about me just going to prison in 1998, twenty-two years after his case had happened in 1976.
So he showed up at the prison. I didn’t even know who he was. He started telling me the same thing that Ian House was telling me. That it was the beginning of my life, and I was going to find my true purpose in life. He talked about how he went to Brown, an Ivy League university, and I went to Cornell, and how he became top of his game at politics at the White House and how I became top of my game in corporate America. Both of us were in our thirties. Both of us ended up in federal prison for twenty dollars a month. He said it was the best thing in the world that ever happened to him. He started mentoring me and discipling me just like Ian House did. He poured his life into me for almost fifteen years.
Three months after I met Chuck Colson, ten months after I met Ian House, my third month in prison (I had eight and a half years yet to go), I got down on my knees and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, for the first time in my life at age forty-one, even though I had gone to church most of my life. I surrendered my life to Jesus. I made a train wreck out of my life, and I turned the steering wheel over to Jesus. It’s amazing what Jesus started doing even when I was in prison. I started taking people one by one through Operation Timothy in federal prison. I took sixty-one men through Operation Timothy in federal prison.
I look back at my fifty-eight years of life, and the nine most productive years of my life were in federal prison at twenty dollars a month. After earning seven figures for eight years in a row and then nine years at twenty dollars a month were the most productive years of my life. In reality, I became a free man in prison! And I was in prison, prior to prison to that life of materialism, to that life of greed. It took all of those distractions to be stripped away from me for me to get to know God.