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Friday, May 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Barry Minkow Gets|Five More Years

SAN DIEGO (CN) - Serial con man Barry Minkow was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for embezzling more than $3 million from parishioners of a church he led after getting out of prison the first time.

The shameless fraudster, who has been running cons for 26 years, "pleaded guilty in January, (and) admitted that he tricked a widower into making a $75,000 donation for a hospital in the Sudan to honor his wife after she died of cancer. Only there was no hospital, and Minkow pocketed the money. He also admitted, among others things, that he stole $300,000 from a widowed grandmother who is trying to raise her teenage granddaughter," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

"It doesn't get much worse than that in the world of nonviolent crime," U.S. District Judge Michael Anello said in handing down the maximum sentence, according to the U.S. attorney.

Anello ordered that Minkow do his five years after he completes the time he has left on his current prison term for another financial crime.

Minkow was convicted of financial crimes for the first time in 1988, for the ZZZZ Best carpet cleaning business, which traded on the NASDAQ, and which he founded as a teenager.

He was sentenced to 25 years in prison for that, then became involved in "Christian ministry."

He was freed on parole in 1995, funded a "Fraud Discovery Institute," and became a pastor for the San Diego Community Church.

He was convicted of stock manipulation for shorting stock while running his so-called Fraud Discovery Institute, and was sentenced to 5 years in prison and ordered to pay Lennar Homes $584 million in restitution. He is doing that time now.

Minkow, 48, formerly of Poway, in San Diego County, is not a nice man, an IRS agent said in the U.S. attorney's statement: "Barry Minkow skillfully operated as a predator, using his trusted position as pastor at San Diego Community Bible Church and Fraud Discovery Institute to fraudulently obtain over $3 million for his own benefit. His concealment of his diversion from the IRS, in an attempt to reduce his tax obligations, further displays his uncanny ability to deceitfully use every mechanism to line his own pockets. Today's sentencing reinforces IRS Criminal Investigation's commitment to investigate those who will stop at nothing to perpetuate financial and tax crimes."

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