Unlike the $4.3 million worth of fake money he once printed, Jason Roberts’ freshly-minted faith in Christ is authentic
by Craig Dirkes
Jason Roberts used to fund his meth addiction by printing millions of dollars’ worth of fake cash and traveler’s checks and selling the bogus money for 20 or 30 cents on the dollar. When he was finally arrested in 2005, he was convicted of printing $4.3 million worth of counterfeit money over the years. After almost four years in prison, he was released only to become addicted to heroin and subsequently spend the next five years in and out of jail.
But in 2015, he finally found something at the Minneapolis, Minn., Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) that gave his life value: God.
Jason’s problems started when he was just a boy. At age 4, he watched his mom die of a brain aneuryism on Christmas Eve. She was just 33. Three years later his dad married a cruel and abusive woman. “She’d wake me up and beat me,” recalled Jason, whose three older siblings went untouched. “She’d put her cigarettes out on my hands. Nobody knew about it.” One night, Jason’s brother caught her, and when their dad found out, he divorced her.
But the emotional pain lingered, and as he got older, Jason dealt with it by overeating. By age 18, he weighed 450 pounds. Classmates made fun of him, which drove him to eat more. Despite being a straight-A student, he felt so ashamed he left high school and obtained a GED age waiver.
By his early 20s, he had obtained an associate’s degree in computer technology and worked for a major credit card company. One day, his eating disorder gave way to a new addiction.
“This guy I worked with was always so energetic and amped up, so I asked him how he got all his energy,” Jason recalled. “He introduced me to meth, and once I started, it was love at first sight.”
He began using meth every day and soon quit his job. He began shoplifting and selling drugs and went on to create the counterfeit money operation that landed him in prison.
When Jason exited prison, he was 30 and weighed just 185 pounds. Sadly, his dad died just before his release. Without a support system, he dealt with it by drinking and eventually turned to heroin and stealing and drug-related crimes.
By 2015, Jason had reached the end of himself. He was facing another six years in prison, but in a last-ditch effort, the judge agreed to allow him to enter the ARC.
“I got down on my knees and surrendered to God,” he said. “I was ready and willing to do whatever it took.” Jason took the program seriously and worked hard. He prayed, read the Bible and developed friendships.
“God took away my obsession for drugs,” said Jason, who graduated from the program in February 2016. “He’s been giving me an abundance of life ever since.”
Today, Jason works as a truck dispatcher for the Minneapolis ARC’s nine area stores. When he isn’t at work, he mentors men enrolled at the ARC. In addition, he talks with his own sponsor every day.
“Two years ago, I never imagined I’d be living a normal life, saving money, taking care of my credit,” Jason said. “The Salvation Army saved my life. They gave me the opportunity to find out what Christ has in store for me, and they’ve given me the resources I need to live a sober, happy life.”