Normally as a journalist, I interview people, but I created this site to focus on myself as a subject, and one of my careers is as a whistleblower.
What’s a whistleblower?We have all sorts of names – snitch, tattletale, journalist, documentarian, documentation, anons, leakers, and more.
A whistleblower is like a referee who keeps an eye on the game and calls fouls, throws up flags, or blows a whistle to these problems. I worked as an Operations Manager and business systems analyst, so I knew the people and processes. The product, however, was corrupt, so I made it known to the media and government.
When they failed, I joined the activist community, and when they failed, I decided media was my best bet for success and survival.
You’re a whistleblower? Yes, and so are you if you’ve ever called anyone out on a foul, lie, or other minor infraction.
Do you know Bradley Manning/Edward Snowden/Julian Assange? I know of their stories well and have kept up in real time since they entered the public eye (Assange the longest). They’re all a part of the underground hacker/pirate/anonymous/troll culture I’ve always been fascinated with since the 80s.
I’ve met Assange’s mom and have the only footage on YouTube of Ed Snowden at International CES 2016 in Las Vegas. I know a lot of popular journalists, activists, hackers, anons, and others. I’ve contributed to a few things here and there for Occupy, Anonymous, YourAnonNews, AnonCorpWatch, and a few other things.
You went to jail? Yup. I’m the only banker who went to jail. Not the execs – the whistleblower. I served two nonconcurrent months in Tent City jail in Phoenix, AZ as inmate T137883 and I don’t remember the second. I named the highest head of the housing crisis hydra, and he lost his job.
He sued me because he could prove mentioning his name in my document leak cost him a job. I can prove it cost me so many that I made a career out of using it as a measuring stick.
Since he had money, he bought some lawyers (who I beat like little bitches in court multiple times and even licked my hands and rubbed my dick on their laptops and phones during one meeting in the court cafeteria), and I went to jail twice during the civil defamation trial I had a default judgment on me for not attending the first time.
I never received noticed, and this slick banking and insurance exec attacked the only way suits know how. He won less battles than he thinks and if we ever see each other again, it will be the last time one way or another.
Nobody protected you? Nope. Not the government, nor the media, nor any of the lawyers. I had to drive around 100 miles all over the Phoenix area to drop off subpoenas to BofA, QBE, the Arizona Attorney General, and some lawyers. The AZAG and one attorney provided me with the documentation I asked for (which was all documentation and record of our meeting). Nobody else did.
Ryan Grimm at the Huffington Post responded and took action that I found helpful later on when rebuilding after jail. Ross Urken, a couple SEO clients, and Dan Skye were the first people I emailed to let them know I got out of jail, even before calling for a ride.
So Workin with Urken is great, marketing is more trustworthy than journalism, and High Times is the mecca of counterculture. Got it.
Did you make any money? Yes and no. For whistleblowing? No. I met with a dozen government agencies and 20 attorneys, and each of them pulled a few million of the banks in the five years since. The only money I’ve made is as a freelance writer and consultant.
Why do you live in a van? Nothing in life is as one-dimensional as any single story could convey. Whistleblowing is a tough journey, and journalists/writers don’t make much. I make about as much as a teacher and have to travel and sustain work.
I spend a lot of time meeting with clients and have to be ready at any time. Also I have a lot of enemies and have been d0xed online multiple times, so existing in multiple places simultaneously is my only assurance I have a chance to control my general proximity.
Can you take a look at my mortgage/insurance? Can you afford me? I charge a minimum of $100/hour to give any serious thought to any type of business, which includes reading, writing, and arithmetic, but isn’t limited to that.
Value my time or I’ll simply walk away, and if you try to contain me, I’ll make you regret it.
Can you read this for me? See above.
What do you do now? I have a blog and pitch stories everywhere. I network among professionals in PR, SEO, management, technology, security, virtual reality, drones, and much more. I keep up on the ways of the world and try to remain relevant.
I’m a branding specialist and have built a sustainable online brand. I’m working on upgrading some photography equipment and am shopping warehouses, office buildings, and other places to set up businesses.
More than a whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer, I’m an entrepreneur, and I have a long-term vision building the equivalent of a digital Taj Mahal.
And I’m writing this for you to stop asking me the same fucking questions and move on with your lives.
Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work appears in HuffPost, Main Street, The Street, Hardcore Droid, Fast Company, High Times, Yahoo, MSN, podcasts, radio, and more.