James Fleishman Bio

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Growing up in California my mother ran the house, taking care of myself, my older sister and my father, who was seriously disabled after a couple of strokes. My father spent years in therapy battling to recover his speech and mobility and died when I was fifteen. My mother had her own struggles with polio as a child, which would impact her physically for the rest of her life. My parents provided love and support and taught me by example how to not only survive, but to thrive in the face of adversity. They were successful in giving me a happy childhood that felt very ordinary.

After college, I went to South Korea to teach English where I met my wife. When I returned home I completed my teaching credential in 2000, but decided the classroom wasn’t where I wanted to be. I went to work for a friend’s technology start-up in Palo Alto as the office manager and had a chance to do some sales. I really enjoyed sales and in 2003 landed an entry-level job for another technology start-up. Here I excelled, winning trips to Maui and the Bahamas before the company was bought out.

In May of 2006 I posted my resume on a couple job boards and was hired by Primary Global Research, an expert network supplying industry contacts for calls with investment analysts at hedge funds and mutual funds. They were looking for a salesperson who could help grow the business. They liked what I had done at my previous company and didn’t care that I knew nothing about Wall Street. Over the next four years I did very well at PGR, cold-calling my way into several large mutual funds and many hedge funds. In December of 2007 my wife and I had our first daughter, Sarah.

On December 16th, 2010, FBI agents stormed my house and put me in handcuffs. The Feds charged me with helping investors get inside information by setting up calls with “dirty” consultants and threatened to put me away for up to twenty years, unless I pled guilty. I was completely innocent of these charges and knew there was no direct evidence to support them, so I took my case to trial where circumstantial evidence and lies by co-operating witnesses were used to convict me at the height of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. I was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Throughout these three years of turmoil I documented my experience in writing and shared it with friends and family who provided a tremendous amount of support and encouragement. I wrote about my arrest, my conviction, my incarceration and the slow return to the free world. These writings are Inside Story. I took what I learned from my parents and did my best to not simply weather the storm but to come through it a stronger man.

I left prison in April of 2013 and published Inside Story in January of 2014. I am so grateful to have my life back now and to be home with my wife and daughters. Our second daughter Giselle was born in July of 2011, just a month before my trial began.

I am currently working as a salesperson for a yet another software start-up with many of the same people from the company I left before going to work for PGR. My life will never be the same, but finally things are beginning to feel normal.

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