Russ Whitney' conviction for second degree robbery by John T. Reed 1 At my "Unauthorized biography of Russ Whitney" Web page, I put the following: Whitney makes only vague statements regarding this period [1972-1976], including that he had a "bad attitude" (p. 17 Building Wealth), that he was "desperate" (p. 19), that everywhere he turned he "hit a wall" (p.19), and that he was "naÃ¯ve" (p.19). These provocative words hint at intriguing events. He also refuses to reveal his geographic locations at the time. I also said, "I would especially appreciate hearing from persons who could tell me where to look for details. " On page 23 of Building Wealth, Whitney says he worked as a short-order cook, telemarketer, and taxi driver. Then he says, "I lived this way, going from job to job, until I got the job in the slaughterhouse." Actually, he' leaving out something else he did before the slaughterhouse, something few people would refer to as a "job." See my Main page about Russ Whitney for links to many different articles about his brushes with the law, claims of success, and so forth. Reader with degree in criminology contacts me I heard from a real estate investor who has a B.S. in criminology and who worked as a police aide for years. He told me the New York State Department of Corrections has a Web site where you can inquire about current and former inmates. He inquired about Whitney. You can do the same. Inmate # 74B1135 Go to http://nysdocslookup.docs.state.ny.us/kinqw00. That' the New York State Department of Corrections Web site. Type in the name Russell Whitney. His birth date is 11/18/55. When you submit your search, you will get a list of four New York convicts who were named Whitney. You will note that one of them: Inmate number 74B1135, is Russell Whitney, a white, male inmate who was born 11/18/55. That would be the great real estate investment expert. The 74 in his number is the year he was imprisoned. B represents the particular jail or prison where he was first incarcerated. The rest of the number"”1135"”means he was the 1135th inmate accepted at that facility. Click on the blue, underlined inmate number (DIN #) to see the details of Whitney' incarceration. From prison to the "slaughterhouse" As you read further, you will find that he went to prison on August 30, 1974, when he was 18. He was paroled on March 9, 1976, when he was 20. The first paragraph of Whitney' book Overcoming the Hurdles and Pitfalls of Real Estate Investing says, "My story begins in March, 1976. I lived in Schenectady, a small town in upstate New York, just west of Albany. I applied and was hired
for the best job I"d ever had. The job was at Tobin Packing Co., Inc. I was a laborer"¦" The sequence of events Whitney depicts sounds a little off. He says he lived in Schenectady, then applied for a job at Tobin Packing. Sounds more like he lived in a prison cell in Queens and went to Schenectady for the job. Why would a guy who claims he had lived his whole life in New York City go to Schenectady unless he had a job there waiting for him? Whitney says it was Coxsackie In July of 2003, Whitney posted a Web page discussing this. He said he was not in prison in Queens, notwithstanding the word "Queens" on his prison record. Rather, he says he was imprisoned at Coxsackie, NY. Coxsackie Correctional Facility was in the news on 1/8/03 when it was locked down for several days to search for weapons after a spate of inmate fights. On the back cover of his book Building Wealth where you will find these words, "Russ Whitney was a 20-year old high school dropout working in a slaughterhouse for five dollars an hour when he set out to become a millionaire." So the second sentence in his book Overcoming the Hurdles and Pitfalls of Real estate Investing"”that he lived in Schenectady when he applied for the Tobin Packing job"”is false. He now admits he lived in the Coxsackie Correctional Facility when he a prison employee helped him get the job. Coxsackie is two counties away from Schenectady. G.E.D. Actually, Whitney has a General Equivalency Diploma (G.E.D.) according to page 2 of his book Overcoming the Hurdles and Pitfalls of Real Estate Investing. The investor with the degree in criminology says it is very common for prison inmates to get G.E.D.s during their incarceration. In July of 2003, Whitney confirmed that he did get his G.E.D. in prison. If he got a G.E.D., it is incorrect to claim that he was still a high school dropout when he worked for Tobin Packing. "You got your job through the New York Times? My prison friend got me mine." After I posted that Whitney was threatening me with lawsuits at my Web site, I received an email from a Whitney associate who said he had heard that Whitney got his "slaughterhouse" job through his parole officer. I did not publish it at that time because that email writer was not sure of the facts. I did publish it later because it appeared he was probably correct. In July of 2003, Whitney said that he got the job with the help of a civilian prison employee who ran the prison gym. That man got his union officer father to get a union job for Whitney at Tobin Packing. As I suspected, getting the job was a condition of parole. If that' the case, it was not his parole officer per se, but pretty close. Queens Whitney was convicted and apparently initially incarcerated in Queens, NY, a borough of New York City. Second degree robbery The crime Whitney was convicted of was class C second degree robbery. A New York criminal defense lawyer' web site gives a general discussion of this crime. Here is what the New York State Consolidated Laws say, Penal Code: Section 160.00 Robbery; defined Robbery is forcible stealing. A person forcibly steals property and commits robbery when, in the course of committing a larceny, he uses or threatens the immediate use of physical force upon another person for the purpose of: 1. Preventing or overcoming resistance to the taking of the property or to the retention thereof immediately after the taking; or 2. Compelling the owner of such property or another person to deliver up the property or to engage in other conduct which aids in the commission of the larceny. Section 160.10 Robbery in the second degree. A person is guilty of robbery in the second degree when he forcibly steals property and when: 1. He is aided by another person actually present; or 2. In the course of the commission of the crime or of immediate flight therefrom, he or another participant in the crime (a) Causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime; or (b) Displays what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm; or 3. The property consists of a motor vehicle, as defined in section one hundred twenty-five of the vehicle and traffic law. Robbery in the second degree is a Class C felony. Penal Code Section 60.05 imposes mandatory prison sentences on Class C felons. The maximum sentence for a Class C violent felony is 15 years [New York State Penal Code '§70.00(2)(c)] New perspective The revelation that Whitney did prison time for robbery puts a number of things he and his supporters have said in a new light: COLUMN HEADINGS: Source Whitney comment p.17 Building Wealth "[I was] a high school dropout with a bad attitude." p.18 Building Wealth "I easily could have used my lousy childhood as an excuse for never achieving anything significant." p.22 Building Wealth "[My]"¦stereotypical wicked stepmother"¦told me repeatedly"¦that I would probably wind up spending most of my life in jail." p.23 Building Wealth "I have never gloated about my success to my stepmother." p.23 Building Wealth "I could give my family all the security and safety that I had never had and I so badly wanted them to have." email sent by "ANIMEX" 6/30/00 to Papersourceonline Notes newsgroup defending Leasecomm, a company Whitney and his agents urged people to sign up with at his seminars "People who attend these seminars are not physically forced to sign these contracts, and nor are they coerced into doing so." p. 19 Building Wealth "Everywhere I turned, I hit a wall." [Reed comment: That"ll happen when you"re in a prison cell.] p. 17 Overcoming"¦ "Growing up in a pretty tough area of New York City roughened my edges a bit"¦" I am researching the details of the crime"”date, place, victim, nature of injury or weapon used, etc. But I have not yet found them. I want to know whom he robbed. Was it a man or a woman? An adult or a child? Was he a purse snatcher from little old ladies? What variation of "Your money or your life" did he use? Did he also spout profanities to further intimidate the victim? Did he harm the victim or brandish a firearm? According to the definition of second degree robbery, it was one or the other if he had no accomplice. Now that he is Mr. Big Shot CEO multimillionaire, what has he done to go back to Queens and make amends with the victim of his robbery? If his "leaving the scene of a personal injury accident" in Glenville, New York is any indication, Whitney has made zero effort to do the right thing with regard to his robbery victim. I want to ask the robbery victim what he or she thinks about the current TV-star status of the thug they encountered in 1974. Whitney says the above paragraph is an attempt to "sensationalize" the crime. Actually, I am just listing the various possibilities, which is about all we can do until the authorities provide the details. Below is Whitney' version of what happened, but in light of the sentence he received, it sounds like his version, like previous versions of his life story, is incomplete. Whitney says I must know these possibilities are not true from my research. He' wrong. I have only his prison record. If and when I get the police-court records of the robbery conviction, I will state the facts and eliminate the possibilities that do not apply. As always, I would appreciate any help readers can give. I expect I will probably hear from someone. Whitney' former associates tend to brag that they know "the guy on TV." Then one of them hears about my Web site from a person who heard the brag, and I hear from another informant. Whitney' version of the crime In Jury of 2003, Whitney provided this description of the crime. ""¦he was with some other youths in a store where they grabbed some money from an open register and ran away. There was no violence and no one was injured."¦Whitney did not use a weapon" If that' true, why was he convicted of robbery? As the definition from New York State law above says, it is only robbery if the robber "uses or threatens the immediate use of physical force upon another"¦" Note that Whitney does not say there was no threat of force, only that there was "no violence and no one was injured." If there was a threat of force, Whitney' saying there was no violence is Clintonesque. An anonymous source who has proven correct on a number of other things he told me Whitney said he used a knife in the robbery. Another anonymous source said Whitney was fascinated with knives as weapons when he was a teenager. I cannot resolve these conflicting statements about the crime details until I get the police-court documents. "No parents to turn to" Whitney further said in his July, 2003 statement that ""¦he had no money and no parents to turn to when he got in trouble." Actually, he had around $13,000. See the account of cash he received from his great grandmother and from a car accident settlement at my article about my interview with his stepmother. True, this money was not in an account he could withdraw from when he was 18, but his stepmother could have. Also, some attorneys might have agreed to wait until he was of legal age to get the money. Whether his stepmother would have used it to pay for his defense is unknown. But apparently, he did not give her the chance. The statement that he had no parents to turn to when he got into trouble is simply false. He had his stepmother, who was just across the bay from New York City when he was arrested and charged. True, he had not endeared himself to her, but again, he did not give her the chance to help him. Perhaps she would have on the grounds that her late husband would have wanted her to. In short, he cannot say whether his stepmother would have been a person to turn to. He chose not to turn to her. Why just parents? And why is he saying he had no "parents" to turn to? Why limit it to parents? He had other relatives, namely: "¢ affluent aunt in Reno "¢ paternal grandmother in Reno "¢ "loving, caring saint" Aunt Lynn in Wyckoff, NJ "¢ stepsister Charline and her husband who had recently taken him to Florida after his redacted in Rumson, NJ "¢ half-sister Barbara with whom he was living around the time he got arrested for the robbery "¢ unknown other paternal and maternal relatives In short, Russ Whitney had roughly the usual number of relatives to turn to when he was arrested for robbery. I do not know whether he "turned to" them and they turned him down or he chose not to turn to them for whatever reason. But the fact is, they were there. Based on all I have heard and read about him., I would not be surprised if he did ask his relatives for help, but was turned down flat by all of them because he had behaved abominably when they tried to help him in previous years. I have also heard some information to the effect that he wanted to go to prison to establish what a tough guy he was. Maybe he never contacted any relatives because he was afraid they might prevent from achieving his dream of being an inmate.