RAYBROOK, N.Y. - Richard D. Mangone once lived in a mansion. His Mercedes and Jaguar were parked out front. Now he shares a 100 square-foot cell with another prisoner in Raybrook Federal Prison. Instead of fine furniture he sleeps on a steel bunk with a three-inch mattress. All his personal possessions are stored in two three-foot lockers that hold his clothing, books and radio. Mangone managed three credit unions: Polaroid Credit Union, Barnstable Credit Union and Digital Employees' Federal Credit Union (DCU). He is in prison for stealing $45 million from DCU and Barnstable. He was a top credit union CEO. He built DCU from nothing to one of the most innovative credit unions in the country in three short years. He used the latest technology. New products were offered within hours of authorization. He experimented with econometrics to fine tune the budgeting process. A teller-sales program was one of the first in the country. Playing the stock market made him a millionaire. He had it all, but he said he felt there was a hole that only more possessions and more risk could fill. As for his crime, he invested the funds from the fraudulent loans. It was only when the economy developed problems that the money could not be paid back. His intention was never to steal. Looking back, and the years behind bars has given him plenty time to think, made him realize what went wrong and to assume responsibility for his own misdeeds. Although he has been shunned by almost all his former friends and staff, he has tried to rebuild relationships with those that are willing. He understands why others do not want any contact. He telephones his daughter weekly. She visited with her new husband shortly after her marriage, but nothing will make up his missing walking her down the aisle. He is proud of her new career as a personal trainer. Born to a poor family, his mother struggled to raise her children after her husband died. She made candy wafers at the NECCO plant in Cambridge, Mass. Mangone was as devoted to her as she was to him. Her lasagna was something he still brags about. She visited him at Raybrook regularly until her death in her early `90s, a loss that hurt. Mangone considers himself blessed that he still gets family visits from his wife Mary, his daughter Jessica, his brothers and sisters, although they do not come as regularly as they did at first. The family is spread out over the country. He hopes to be transferred to a prison in Fort Devon which would put him closer to his Massachusetts-based relatives. Before imprisonment Mangone was a workaholic. Staff was never surprised by late night or weekend phone calls. In prison his work ethic continues at his job in the prison store from 8:30-6:30 four days a week. He likes it. He uses his marketing skills to arrange the shelves the best way he can. Seventy-five dollars of his $165 monthly salary goes toward restitution of the $41,271,000 he still owes. "The original amount was $41,274,000. Court fees paid $1,100 toward the balance," he said. It is not a debt that he thinks he will ever be able to pay off. Some who knew him have doubted his born-again Christianity which he said he found shortly before he turned himself in after being on the run for 18 months. He has seen no television for 10 years, reads no newspapers, but does listen to the radio. He devotes a majority of his free time to his religious studies with the exception of a Red Sox game and letter writing. He has taken over 500 Bible courses and has studied the Scriptures examining and re-examining the meanings behind the words. Some of the programs deal with social problems, and he has looked into himself to see why he did what he did. He graduated from the Exodus Bible Correspondence School with an average grade of 99. Joyce Hargi, the Director of the Exodus Prison Ministry, said of him, "I believe this man is sincere in his commitment to walk in the ways of the Lord and is another of those individuals who can make a worthy contribution to society. If given opportunity this man can be a positive role model to verify that people can change and can make a positive impact on the world." He rises at 5:45 in the morning and studies the Bible until 8:15 when he leaves for work. He says, "I have much time on my hands to even track incoming mail by the piece. My average per day is 1.91 or about 9.5 pieces a week. The accountant in me has never left. Mail for August was super, a record of 55 was broken, up 10% from two years ago." An 80-year old correspondent sends him stickers of funny faces and animals which he peels off and recycles to decorate his letters to his remaining few friends. As an older inmate, Mangone is somewhat free from prison violence. At one point younger inmates called him The Preacher, but in September he was shaken when Patrick, a felon convicted for a white collar crime, was "beaten and cut by razors. It took another inmate four hours to clean the cell." Mangone admitted being "shook by the attack." Even without the danger, there is discomfort. This spring, in a cost-cutting measure to save on the electricity, all fans were removed from the prison. It was a hot summer. Mangone always loved food, and still does. He is served "lots of rice, pasta and beans." At St. Patrick's day he looked forward to corn beef and cabbage, something both his wife and mother made well. He misses pizza. He volunteers for the Companion Program where inmates stay with inmates who are suicidal in four-hour shifts. Mangone feels he has accomplished something when "I can bring them comfort." He requested a commutation of sentence from President George W. Bush. The appeal was several inches thick and included recommendations of people in the credit union movement who he had helped as well as the certificates from his Bible courses, a statement of regret as well as plans of what he would do if released. The request has neither been approved nor denied. He has asked friends to support H.R. 256, a House bill that if passed would release prisoners convicted of non-violent crimes who have been good prisoners after eight years. America has one of the highest incarcerations rates in the world and one in four of all the prisoners in the world are Americans. A recent march in Washington, D.C. to support the bill by family members of prisoners produced only about 1,100 participants, a result that disappointed him. Since he is forbidden to ever work in another financial institution, Mangone says he is no risk to society. He points out, a drug dealer can be dealing within minutes of being freed. When he discussed this article, he expressed the hope that people reading it might consider supporting the bill. "The final decision is in God's hands," he says of any possible early release. Mangone always was an achiever. Prison hasn't changed his desire to excel. "Throughout my years of confinement I have had no disciplinary reports.work performance reports are also outstanding." He celebrated his 60th birthday October 9th and said on his release date he will be "one month shy of 70. He had doubts about this article. He didn't want pity nor does he pity himself. He searches for making his life as meaningful as possible with the confines of his daily life. He says his religion has taught him to take responsibility for his mistakes. He said, "Most will never understand what is lost by living as a shut in. I am certainly not looking for sympathy as my evil deeds are being paid for in full." -firstname.lastname@example.org
Mangone at 60: Imprisoned Former DCU CEO Still Pushing for Release
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