CANDO is elated to report that Rhonda is NOW FREE. She is an inspiration to so many and got extra good time due to First Step Act.
Name: Rhonda J. Turpin. #31460-060
Race: African American
Children: Two daughters; six grandchildren
Charge: Conspiracy to commit bank fraud and tax fraud
Sentence: 17 years
Release Date: 11/05/2019
Started Sentence on: Oct 18, 2004
Served: 14 years
Prison Conduct: Good
Supporters: CAN-DO Foundation, The LOHM, The Council, family members
Accomplishments in Prison: I have completed over 40 Ace and Recreation classes
* Completed my second apprenticeship from the Department of Labor.
*I have been into the community under a program called 2 High 4 The Price, to speak to at risk youth at neighborhood high schools and other community agencies that serve at-riskyouth.
Institution: FCI Lexington Camp, Lexington, Kentucky
Clemency petition status: Pending with CP14 and OPA
A. PRIOR TO PRISON
I was an Executive Director of a non-profit, JUMP Inc, and owner of an Internet Cafe. I completed my Master’s Degree from Cleveland State University earlier in life. Before coming to prison I was a funding consultant and grantwriter for 24 agencies that included churches and Universities.
B. WHILE IN PRISON
* I completed my doctorate degree in Sociology on Jan 9,2018;
* Completed anapprenticeship in Office Management from the Department
*Completed the public speaking and mentoring program, 2 High 4 The Price,
where we went out to several high schools and an Alternative School to speak and
interact with at-risk and high risk youth.
* I am what people consideer a jailhouse lawyer, especially for women with language barriers.
* Dec. 2013, and Dec. 2014, was the liaison for Justice Is Healing; we provided
over 100 mothers with x-mas gifts for their children.
*I consistently teach Grantwriting and small business classes, since my first year in prison.
* I instructed two financial management classes for the month of July 2016,
to two separate groups of women.
* I have over 40 Education ACE class certificates, and just as many recreation
*Teaching a Health Class once a week for Cadre women to inform about prevention
of diabetes, heart attack, and Blood Pressure..
* I have developed a new passion for writing books!
In 2004, with Martha Stewart mentoring me on my first book, In Prison With Martha Stewart, was the start of my writing career; In 2006, I wrote, The Game Is Dead, a fiction story with a supernatural twist; In 2010, I wrote Free Money In America, that tells you how to obtain and keep grant money; and in 2013, I wrote In Prison With Lauryn(Hill);
C. AFTER PRISON
Once released, I have a job waiting for me with a decent salary as an office manager for a fiber optics company in Ohio full-time. I will continue to write books and articles, and have two new books coming out this year. I am a funding consultant, and will assist non-profit agencies receive grants. My most important role with the next half of my life: caregiver to my five grandchildren/Tee’s legacy, and Grandma to my six grandchildren! I am excited about what’s to come.
“IF YOU CANNOT FIND PEACE WITHIN YOURSELF, YOU WILL NEVER FIND IT
ANYWHERE ELSE.” Marvin Gaye, 1939-1984
A Special message from Rhonda to the public:
“THE CELL GIVES YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO OVERCOME THE BAD AND DEVELOP
WHATEVER IS GOOD IN YOU.” Nelson Mandela, Kroonstad Prison, Feb. 1975
My family names are Turpin, McMullin, and Gilliam.
My family migrated during the Northern Migration, with my Mom’s family coming from Vicksburg Mississippi in 1945, and my paternal family coming from Louisiana in 1940. Both my parents, and all of my grandparents are now deceased. I am the oldest living Matriarch of our family, and the staple. I keep my family together and try to keep the peace from prison, as I did at home.
I am from Cleveland Ohio. I birthed two daughters. My first born, “Tee”, (September 27, 1975 to May 8, 2014) died of a freak bike accident and left me five beautiful grandkids as her legacy, ranging from ages 19 to 7. Daya, my oldest granddaughter, is beginning her second year on full 4-year academic scholarship. She is the first in our family history to ever receive an academic scholarship! My youngest daughter, Netta, has one son, and is temporarily caring for Tee’s other five children until I get there, giving me a total of six grandchildren- 3 girls, and 3 boys- the Turpin Bunch.
Upon my release, I will be making a home for Tee’s five children. Their furniture from their home is still being stored. It is time for their lives to be restored to full normalcy, and they are a full restoration for my life, and I am excited about the challenge/assignment. I have a checkered past, and was not always physically there for my daughters, so this is my second chance at parenting also.
“EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS A LESSON AND A BLESSING.” Steve Harvey
While serving a 24 month sentence for Housing Fraud, that consisted of renting to my daughter Tee from Section 8, at Alderson, I received an offer for Rule 35, to assist the government on an investigation of a friend. I refused due to just wanting to serve my time and get back home to my family. They served a new indictment, and I was convicted at a bench trial in front of my judge to 15 years, running concurrent, conspiracy to bank fraud and tax fraud.
I QUALIFY FOR CAN-DO CLEMENCY PROJECT BECAUSE I WAS SENTENCED UNDER THE HARRISON NARCOTICS ACT OF 1929, instead of using the guidelines. I have won two direct appeals on this issue, and took it to the U.S. Supreme Court. I was able to drop eight months off my sentence representing myself. MY CASE IS THE ONLY WHITE COLLAR CASE IN THE COUNTRY USING A NARCOTICS ACT AND STATUTE TO CALCULATE MY SENTENCE.
A. My case involves two conspiracies.
The First conspiracy was when an employee/ my co-defendant of CitiFinancial, arranged a fraudulent non-collateral loan check scheme. The checks were cashed at banks, creating federal bank fraud violations. I verified employment for several of my co-defendants using a burn-out phone, knowing my actions were fraudulent and illegal.
B. The second conspiracy: This conspiracy involved a friend/my co-defendant’s family tax filing service. I allowed her to copy/use my W-2 on several filings, where children were added illegally in order to obtain the IRS Earned Income Credit for increased refunds.
I grew up in Lakeview Terrace Projects, on the Westside of Cleveland Ohio. Since I was a little girl, I was always drawn to bad boys and the street element and iconoclasts. Crime does not pay. It destroys on so many levels is what I know today. I apologize to society for being involved in this sort of criminal behavior, and discovered it was a character flaw in me and my thinking that I have worked on with professionals and while spending lots of time alone. I am ready to be the person I was destined to be.
“A winner will still be who they are, even in prison.” singer Pharrell (Williams)
Description of The Person that I Am:
I am an introvert, and love to laugh. I am a devout music lover, and do not care for TV. I never watched TV at home either. I even listen to the news station on my radio. Where most women get excited about shoes, I get very excited about new books. Other inmates notice; I am told through the years, “Ms. Rhonda, you always have a book in your hand.” I love to walk and dance. I always have. I am not a religious person, but very spiritual, and I revel in the awesomeness of God daily. I feel everyone of His Creations are Great. People are at different stages of their path in life, but there is no one less or greater than me. My parents and grandparents instilled this philosophy and now I fully understand it and embrace it.
Who I would like to become:
“Dr” Turpin!, speaking at events and Universities on the need to dismantle mass incarceration. I am a follower and full supporter of Van Jones, CUT50.org. I will also be the best caregiver and grandmother ever to my grandchildren waiting on me, and a pillar to my family and community. It is all very positive and exciting for me.