The moral of the story below.....is that if your website has been penalized you must come clean with everything you did (in detail)....ask for forgiveness.....and promise to never do it again.
The frustrating thing about a Google penalty, is that Google does not tell you if your website has been penalized, nor will they inform you of why your website was penalized. It is up to you to spill your guts.....and hope that Google here's you. So if you ever find yourself submitting a "reconsideration request," think of it as a prayer.
In some cases, it appears to work.