‘The Informant’ shares story of life transformation
Whitacre went on to say this inflation occurs when a coalition of companies illegally create an agreement that sets a minimum price and a maximum price for goods. The effects include narrowing competition for products and companies and makes it hard for new companies to enter the market.
The coalition that ADM was apart of included five companies that raised the market price of lysine 70%. The total profit from the scandal was $495-$540 million.
One of the world’s largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers, Archer Daniels Midland, employed Whitacre for six years. Whitacre first told the FBI about the price fixing in 1992. His job was to wear a wire for nine hours a day for three years, the longest time someone has ever worn a wire. Whitacre elaborates on his emotions while undercover.
“The FBI told me often they would meet me at six o’clock every morning for three years Monday through Friday,” Whitacre says. “They would tell me if any one of these guys catch you wearing a wire they are going to kill you. They informed me how serious this stuff was and that I could die.”
After exposing ADM for price fixing, the FBI offered Whitacre a reduced sentence of six months because of his key part in the investigation. Fixed on not serving a prison sentence, Whitacre put his army of lawyers on the case. Drawing the case out for three years, Whitacre finally lost the appeal. The FBI gave him 10 years for embezzling nine million dollars right under their nose. Whitacre reflects on his time in prison.
“While in prison I became a Christian,” Whitacre said. “My wife had been pressuring me for over 10 years to become one, but through two guys, Chuck Colson and Ian House, they came and visited me. They stayed with me and worked through my ignorance so that I could become a Christian.”
Whitacre thinks the best thing that ever happened to him was prison. While it may be a crazy thought to some, that is why he speaks at schools.
“The major goal I have when I speak is to convey to shoot for a life of significance, not a life of success,” Whitacre said. “I was putting all my energy into what the world defines as success, I had a mansion an eight car garage filled with fancy cars but ultimately there was a void in my heart the size of the grand canyon. Prison took away my fancy stuff and helping people get their GED and learn how to read gave me that life of significance.”
Hearing Whitacre explain his story made students wonder if they were living a life of significance. Bryson Graham elaborates on what living a life of significance means to him.
“I think that living a life of significance means to put my focus into God,” Graham said, “Instead of focusing on what the world thinks is good. Having nice cars and lots of money is cool but putting focus on God is even better.”
Now, Whitacre travels the country speaking to high school students and helping prisoners earn their GED’s and learning how to read and write. He explains how he came full circle through Operation Timothy, a branch of the nonprofit organization CBMC.
“While I was in prison I helped prisoners learn how to read and write.,” Whitacre said, “I had the opportunity to take advantage of my situation so I did. I am now the COO of Christian Men’s Business Connection. Sure I have had the ability to make more money but I feel that this is my calling.”
Whitacre’s story came full circle from being at the top of a Fortune 500 company, spent nine and a half years in prison, and now the COO of a Christian organization.
For more articles, read Remembering a day of infamy. For more features, read Incoming high schoolers express fears, worries of high school.@thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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