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Wahida Clark made her money and found her success the hard way. As a wife and mother, she ended up going to prison for money laundering and mail fraud. RollingOut.com tells the story of how Wahida had to leave her daughters for 91/2 years to go to federal prison, along with her husband. Relatives took care of the kids while they were away.
After having all of her possessions taken and her cars repossessed, Wahida discusses a “light bulb” moment she had in prison that led her to change her life.
Wahida Clark doesn’t have any regrets. The wife and mother was living in Decatur, Ga., a suburb east of Atlanta, when she was found guilty of money laundering and mail fraud.
The Trenton, NJ, native moved south to create a better life and to be closer to her husband, who was serving time in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, after he described the city to her as “…up and coming, the Black Mecca.”
A top salesperson working in Corporate America, Clark’s world suddenly turned upside down. She went from finishing her basement in her brand new home to an inmate working in a law library, nearly 400 miles from her baby girls.
“I served 9 ½ years in federal prison but I wouldn’t change one second. If I did, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you right now,” Clark opens up. “The hardest part was being away from daughters. My husband was incarcerated and luckily I had family members who came up to the plate and took care of them.”
While incarcerated, Clark started to build what she calls a “foundation” and what Wall Street would call a “business empire” and historians, a “dynasty.”
“One day, I called home requesting some money and a relative shared with me, ‘your house is in foreclosure, and your cars are repossessed. No one is able to run your businesses so we are packing your belongings and moving them home to New Jersey.’ It was my wake up call.”
After reading through a popular hip-hop magazine, she noticed an article about an inmate who’d written a book. “I was sitting [in the library] and envisioned my name on the spine of a book; it was my light-bulb moment.”
That “moment” has flourished in to nearly five years of working nonstop since her release from prison in December 2007. “I had to take care of my children; I needed to set up a foundation when I came from behind the prison walls. I didn’t know I could write. Once you put something in your mind to do something, the universe works with you,” she shares.