Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Barry Minkow And His

So, its been a while. We're still in the throes of a pandemic, we've got an election coming up, and the California wildfires are leaving people and pets homeless. 

But, how are you?

We've finished Netflix, so Prime Video, and Apple TV are next. Just kidding, but some new seasons of shows have been added, and I have to say, Umbrella Academy did not disappoint.

In this week's episode, Sunni takes the reins with an episode of a California shyster that ran what seemed to be a successful carpet cleaning and restoration company. Only it was a front for organized crime that bilked investors out of tons of money.

Minkow's Money Madness

From a young age Barry Minkow knew he wanted money. He started his grift by selling his grandmother's jewelry. But at the age of nine, he started working for his mother's carpet cleaning company as a telemarketer.

But, he had an enterprising spirit, so he started his own carpet cleaning company, ZZZZ Best. It began as a carpet cleaning company, and whether he actually cleaned carpets, or not, who's to say?

Alas, Barry fell in with all kinds of shady characters who taught him to swindle with the best of them. He expanded his company to include insurance restorations. But, unfortunately, there were no restorations to be done. So, like any good criminal, he lied, lied, lied.

Somehow, Minkow managed to get his company into the public arena through fake addresses and bogus warehouse buildings he claimed to be offices/headquarters or what have you. And he even managed to obtain a board of directors to present the facade of being "on the level."

The Lies Are Exposed

As with most of businesses built on lies, Barry's little kingdom came crashing down.

So, at it's peak, ZZZZ Best sold on the stock market for $18 a share. This was in the 1980s, so at the time, it was a lot of money. It was valued at $280 million, and Barry was the youngest millionaire business owner.

But the company wasn't actually making as much money has he purported. And, he was looking for a way to get his money right. So, when he learned KeyServ, a cleaning company contracted with Sears was up for sale, he began the process of a merger. 

Well, that all fell through when someone learned of how Barry's business stayed afloat in the beginning. Credit card fraud. Not only did Barry involve himself in cc fraud, but check kiting and fraudulent banking practices.

Needless to say, Barry screwed himself, and as a result, he went to prison. Sentenced to 25 years in prison on March 27, 1989 he was also sentence to five years probation and ordered to pay restitution of $26 million, and was banned from serving as an officer or director of a public company by the SEC.

Barry is Free to Continue The Fuckery

But, like many non-people of color who are sentenced to prison for crimes they actually committed, Barry got an early release in 1995. While in prison he claimed to be a born-again Christian, and so began working as a pastor in Chatsworth CA.

And, of course, his fuckery soon began again. This time his target was the stock market. He started a fraud investigation company after one of his church members asked him to look into an investment firm, which turned out to be a $300 million ponzi scheme. 

Minkow began shorting company stocks, before he released a report on the companies. He accused the companies of fraud, and other issues. He made up things about companies causing stock prices to fall. 

Multiple companies sued him over his libelous reports, and most of them settled out of court.

However, one such company came at him with the wrath of God, effectively putting Barry back where he belongs.

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