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Thinking of stealing money from the feds? First, meet Jeff Grant, an ex-con who committed loan fraud

By Erin Arvedlund, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Thinking about stealing the government loan money you received in pandemic help?

Before you do, listen to Jeff Grant's story.

After his opioid addiction, his theft of U.S. loan funds, and a federal prison sentence, Grant's life as a lawyer and business professional was over.

But according to him, his new life was just beginning. And for small business owners feeling desperate - enough to steal - he's created a safe place to talk anonymously and seek guidance.

Now clean and sober, remarried and out of prison, Jeff Grant, 64, co-founded the online organization Progressive Prison Ministries, what could be America's first support group serving the white collar community - in particular, those who committed white collar crimes and may have served prison time.

Grant was convicted after fraudulently obtaining $247,000 in federal aid soon the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, falsely claiming to have had a law office in lower Manhattan that had been shuttered by the disaster. He used the money to pay down personal credit cards. Meanwhile, his pain medication addiction ramped up, as did his marital problems.

 

"In 2002, I resigned my law license and started on the road to recovery. But it all caught up with me about two years later, when I was arrested" for misrepresenting information on his loan application. He served almost 14 months at a federal prison for wire fraud and money laundering.

"So much of my story is tied to my wife, Lynn Springer," he said. They met in drug addiction recovery in Greenwich, Conn., and have been married for 11 years.

"I was a very bad bet, but she stayed with me through prison and the rough years after," said Grant, based in Woodbury, Conn. He celebrated 18 years clean and sober on Aug. 10.

Basing it on a 12-step program, Grant created his support group for white collar criminals and their families after earning a divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York. He now hosts an online White Collar Support Group every Monday.

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