When You Find Out That Your Friends Are Criminals I always told my wife that her neighborhood gossip and girl talk was meaningless because no one really knows what goes on behind the doors of any home. In the news recently is the university bribery scandal and at the center of it all is Rick Singer...my neighbor for 10 years and I guy that spent a lot of personal time with us giving my son basketball tips. We talked about a lot of things and I went to many of the CSU Sacramento basketball games where he was a coach. When he left coaching I remember him starting the college prep consulting business while he was also running basketball camps for the local kids from the ghettos and working with troubled youth. Seemed like a stand up guy....until you turn on the news one day and....!! I went to high school with a guy who was as straight arrow as they come. We were close friends and even dated the same girl. I really liked her but had no interest in settling down at 18 - 19. He wanted to get married so I backed away and he got married. His family had owned a large rice farm for more than 100 years. He took over the farm and ran it with his brother. A number of years later I see him on the covers of all of the farming and organic magazines and he is famous for starting one of the most innovative hydrophonic tomato growing operations in the world. Great place! I went to see it and he was all hyped up about his success, the contracts he had with companies like Whole Foods, etc. Flash forward a couple of years and he is all over the news again...this time he is being arrested by the FBI for running one of the largest marijuana growing operations in the country. Seems the market for his tomatoes went down and he got conned into working with a medical marijuana distributor to produce the product using his high tech greenhouses. Not a close friend, but an employee of mine when I was Director for a Federal Laboratory, one of my managers had been there for about 10 years and his wife worked for me as well. Nice folks and I got along great with both. One day an associate from another Federal unit let me know that he had heard one of my employees had plead guilty to accepting bribes. I had our lawyer secure the court documents and found that the DOJ had arrested this guy for taking $300K in bribes from contractors and he had pleaded guilty with no jail time in exchange for turning on the three contractors. DOJ kept this from us and the guy had been working all the time. I used the court documents as evidence and fired him on several counts and his response to me was "but I thought this was all behind me!" I never knew if his wife knew about this or not but I couldn't punish her for his crimes nor would I want to since she had to live with what he had done. Between him and his wife they made $200K a year back in 2002 so it wasn't like they were starving but he set up the deals, solicited the contractors and built a new house with his take. The settlement deal did require him to pay the money back but the DOJ took the money and none of it came back to my budget. So I can say that two of the guys I was pretty close to have had their time on the six o'clock news and not in a good way and the other was someone I worked close to for several years. Just goes to show that we never really know anyone.