It is customary for people to expect confidentiality to be maintained when they discuss personal, private matters with their attorney, accountant, medical doctor, priest, or their own spouse.
Though it is not regulated by law, professional licensing, or industry, people also naively expect confidentiality to be kept by bank tellers, coin dealers, art dealers, gun dealers, safe installers, vault installers, safe-room building contractors, and emergency shelter dealers and installers.
How would you like it, if a bank teller told their friends about a very large cash deposit or withdrawal you had recently made? Or if a coin dealer told people about the large amount of gold coins that they had sold to you over the years? Or if a gun dealer told people about each of the firearms that they had sold to you? Not only might you not like other people knowing your personal business, this information that you didn’t want shared could put you at risk for robbery or burglary.
To take this breach of confidentiality to an even worse level, how would you like it, if you paid a seller and installer of emergency shelters $250,000 to install a large underground shelter on your property, so that you could store all of your emergency survival supplies and all of your firearms, and even before the installation was begun, they informed on you to the Federal Government which led to your arrest, three years in prison, and confiscation of all of your firearms? This is exactly what happened to Steve Pruitt of Texas in 2013.
Steve Pruitt was the owner of a surveying company in Midland, Texas, an area where there was an oil boom. Roughly sixty years old, Steve had had a successful career, raised a family, and had pursued hobbies such as drag boat racing, long distance shooting, tactical shooting, and firearm customization. In west Texas, Steve had leased seven sections of land from a long time friend, in order to spend his free time outdoors shooting and experimenting with firearm modification and customization.
For those of you who don’t know, a “section” of land is one mile wide by one mile long, equal to about 700 acres. If you leased or owned seven sections of land, if you walked from one property corner diagonally to the opposite property corner without stopping, it would take you about two hours.
Steve wanted to have an underground emergency shelter installed on the land he had leased, in order to safely and securely store his emergency supplies, firearms, and ammunition. He found what looked to be the most widely known underground shelter company and he contacted them about doing an installation for him. This company handled both the sale and installation of pre-fabricated underground shelters.
The owner of the underground shelter company wanted to come and meet Steve on his property in west Texas. When the owner of the shelter company arrived to meet Steve, he took an interest in Steve’s firearms that he was working on, and some of Steve’s other possessions. By the end of the day, the owner of the underground shelter company had asked to purchase about $25,000 worth of Steve’s possessions that he was interested in, which included some of Steve’s firearms.
What Steve did not know at the time, was that the owner of the underground shelter company had committed at least six felonies for such things as assault and theft of over $20,000 per charge. He had also been involved in about twenty-five lawsuits. However, the underground shelter company owner had never served any time in prison, probably because he was an informant.
Immediately after purchasing the firearms from Steve, which he was not allowed to purchase because of his felonies, the underground shelter company owner contacted the FBI to inform on Steve. Though Steve had five licensed silencers for five of his firearms, he had made a couple more himself for the long range rifles that he practiced with. One of the firearms that Steve sold to the underground shelter company owner was a semi-automatic rifle that had been modified to fire full auto.
Though Steve had never been arrested for anything in his life, because he unknowingly and unintentionally did business with a long-time felon with many charges for assault and theft, who wasn’t in prison because he was an informant, Steve was informed on and he spent nearly three years in prison, and had to spend $1 million in attorney’s fees to keep from being sentenced to thirty years in prison.
Here is the video which I start at the twenty minute mark, where Steve tells his story to someone who is not a professional interviewer or journalist:
Often times, ordinary people can get the impression that Law Enforcement and the FBI’s use of informants, allows very, very criminal people to go around committing crimes again and again without punishment, and sends mostly law abiding people to prison. The public would be much better off if the informant was kept in prison where they belong, and the mostly law abiding people were left alone. Where is the common sense or ethics of Law Enforcement and the FBI?
Perhaps the biggest take-away from all of this, something to think about, if you have ever tried to put your money into gold, silver, art, or firearms to protect your wealth and own something of value, or have a safe, vault, or bunker installed, did the individuals that you were dealing with go and report you to the Federal Government, Law Enforcement, or thieves?