He made a living as a Wall Street commodities clerk and trader (silver, gold and oil) since graduating from college in 1987. However, Stephen suffered a series of setbacks in 2002 and 2003 which resulted in him not being able to earn. Despite trying to get work (he was a hard worker all his life), nothing panned out.
Desperate to keep his wife and two young sons in the lifestyle they were accustomed to in Rockville Centre, New York, Stephen fell down to a place where he thought robbing banks was the only way he would be able to make enough money to do that.He was arrested on the day after Thanksgiving, 2003, after robbing 10 banks from July through November of that same year. He pled and received a 9 year sentence (a flat bid as it's called).
His story caprtured the attention of the media. It was documented by 48 Hours in a 2008 show called Stolen Dreams, a Who the Bleep Did I Marry episode in 2010 and as the debut show for the 2011 season of American Greed called Bank Robbing Broker.
In addition, his story appeared on the NTV network in Japan.
With a dog Stephen trained in the Puppy Program
Two men look out the same prison bars, one sees mud, the other sees stars. Frederick Langbridge
Extremely ashamed and openly remorseful about his crimes, Stephen knew that the only way to survive in prison would be to sustain a positive attitude and make the best of it, if possible. Stephen became:
- A certified tutor
- President of the Holy Name Society
- A trainer with the Puppies Behind Bars program
- A Breaking Barriers facilitator
- An assistant to the Coordinating Chaplain and Catholic Chapel clerk
- A facilitator in the Fatherhood and Mentoring programs
In addition, he took several classes on fatherhood and parenting (The most devastating thing about prison was seeing his sons, now 15 and 11, just once a month) and became proficient in giving talks to other inmates.
He wrote, too. One of his stories (The World I Knew) has been published in a book: Relationships and Other Stuff (Volume Three) Stories from Men, available on Amazon.
Since his release in January of 2012, Stephen has been working in construction. He is also developing a series of talks to present to organizations, schools and programs who might be interested in how his experiences shaped his life.
You can email Stephen at firstname.lastname@example.org and Steve Mayfield at email@example.com.
Stephen's blog is at http://stephentrantel.wordpress.com
Adversity does not build character, it reveals it. John Wooden