Top Five Prisons for White-Collar Criminals

Published October 14th, 2019

High flyers and VIPs sometimes get busted for breaking the law. The news often refers to them as white-collar criminals, a reference to their jobs. The term encompasses fraudsters, tax evaders, conspirators, money launderers and the like.

But have you ever wondered where they go to prison? In most cases, a white-collar criminal can lobby the courts as to where they’d like to spend their sentence. And more often than not, they choose those facilities dubbed as “Club Fed”.

There’s a reason why these white-collar prisons are termed such. They’re cushy, less crowded and has generally better amenities and programs for inmates. If they’re lucky, they can even get sent to one with a pool and a gym.

Since most white-collar crimes are federal in nature, these offenders are kept in prisons managed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Here are the top five prisons where white-collar criminals often end up in:


The front facade of FCI Otisville in New York, one of the top prisons for white-collar criminals.

For white-collar criminals with more than 10 years of sentence, this medium-security prison in southeastern New York is as good as prison gets. The media even referred to it as one of the “cushiest” prisons in the country. It’s one of the reasons why there was a huge public outcry when Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen was sent here.

It’s got a gym, a library, a TV room, and a tennis court. What sets it apart from other prison camps, however, is the food. FCI Otisville offers a kosher menu for its Jewish inmates. Forbes even described regular menu items like the tuna sandwich as “amazing”. (Related: What’s on the Menu in Jail?)

Notable inmates:

  • Michael Sorrentino – an American TV personality who pleaded guilty to tax fraud in 2018
  • Billy McFarland – convicted to two counts of wire fraud in connection to the Fyre Festival
  • Dean Skelos – former New York senator convicted of public corruption
  • Michael Cohen – Trump’s former lawyer who pleaded guilty to tax fraud
  • Sholom Rubashkin – former agri-company CEO convicted of fraud
  • Walter Forbes – convicted for masterminding the largest accounting fraud of the 1990s
  • Kenneth Starr – former financial advisor to Hollywood A-listers convicted of money laundering


A front view of FPC Pensacola in Florida, one of the top prisons for white-collar criminals.

Another prison that’s famous for keeping white-collar criminals is the Federal Prison Camp in Pensacola, Florida. It’s a minimum-security facility located near a naval airbase. Its proximity to a military gives inmates better jobs and recreation activities than in most prisons. It has a library and inmates can even use the computer to access their emails. No wonder why it’s dubbed as the second “cushiest” prison in the US.

Notable inmates:

  • Tim Donaghy – former NBA referee convicted of wire fraud conspiracy
  • Mark Whitacre – an undercover FBI informant imprisoned for embezzling funds from the company he was working for
  • Paul H. Jones – a former mayor from Ohio who got convicted of mail fraud and tax evasion.
  • Billy Walters – convicted of insider trading when he was working as a professional sports gambler


Front view of FCI Cumberland, one of the top prisons for white-collar criminals.

At only 130 miles northwest of Washington, DC, FCI Cumberland also attracts its fair share of white-collar criminals. Inmates are housed in dormitory-type facilities and enjoy low-level security. Inmates can work in the prison’s in-house license plate manufacturing center, which makes license plates for federal government vehicles. Or they can join the many work programs which allow them to work outside in the local community to prepare them for re-entry into society. (Related: What Happens After One’s Release From Prison?)

Notable inmates:

  • Bernard Kerik – served as NYPD Commissioner before getting convicted of tax fraud charges
  • Solomon Dwek – a key player in one of the largest corruption stings in US history
  • Webster Hubbell – arrested for wire fraud and tax evasion in relation to the Whitewater controversy
  • Jack Abramoff – a former lobbyist who was at the center of the largest lobbying scandal in the country’s history


A front-view of USP Lompoc, one of the top prisons for white-collar criminals.

This military-barracks-turned-prison-camp is specially designed for the residential drug abuse program. It hosts more than 1,300 medium-security male inmates. Besides the drug rehabilitation programs, this prison camp also offers various recreational activities. Prisoners can play softball or basketball and can even make crafts.

They also require all inmates to take part in work assignments or educational programs.  There’s a wide variety of prison jobs inmates can choose from. They can work on the farm or as cooks, bakers, electricians, librarians, clerks, and tutors.

Notable inmates:

  • H. R. Haldeman – White House Chief of Staff for former President
  • Richard Nixon, who was a key figure in the Watergate scandal
  • Reed Slatkin – a co-founder of Earthlink who got involved in one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in US history
  • Ivan Boesky – a Wall Street speculator who pleaded guilty to a conspiracy in an insider trading scheme
  • Eugene Plotkin – convicted for masterminding an insider trading conspiracy while working for Goldman Sachs


A front view of USP Canaan, one of the top prisons for white-collar criminals.

USP Canaan is a maximum-security prison with an adjacent minimum-security camp. The latter is where many convicted white-collar criminals spend their sentences. Since they are considered low-security risks, inmates here have more freedom than in other facilities. Aside from jail mail postcards, they can also send and receive emails.

The dorm rooms where inmates sleep are more comfortable than in other prisons too. Each cell is air-conditioned and is usually occupied by just two inmates. It’s got a bunk bed, a stainless steel sink, and a small table with a non-removable stool. The prison’s disciplinary unit even has its own shower stalls.

Notable inmates:

  • John and Timothy Rigas – father and son duo who were both convicted of bank fraud in 2004
  • Paul Manafort – Trump’s campaign manager who was convicted of tax fraud, bank fraud, and witness tampering


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Judy Ponio an author for GlobalTel


Judy Ponio is a firm believer in the power of sharing knowledge. Having extensive experience in the prison industry, she wants to share what she knows with the world. Judy also loves to write about political and legal topics.