By | September 27, 2013 3 Comments

Con artist Barry Minkow starts young, keeps going

Barry Minkow founded a carpet cleaning company in 1986, while still in high school. He took the company public and was a millionaire at 18. Except the whole thing was a fraud, and he went to prison.

Then he got caught on stock fraud charges. Then he became a pastor, but apparently defrauded his church as well.

Ponzi schemer Barry Minkow facing third strike, on


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This is so bad it’s actually funny.

Oh, I’m sure it’s at all funny to the poor people Barry Minkow has been defrauding all these years—some of them disastrously, no doubt. Yet there’s a certain hilarity in the way this man can make a con game out of anything at all, no matter what environment he finds himself in. He reminds me of a comic strip I once saw about a very naughty little boy who could find ingenious ways to do something bad with just about anything.

This boy’s parents decide to send him to music lessons in the hope of keeping him out of mischief. The music teachers start him on something simple: a big bass drum, bang bang bang. You’d think he’d be satisfied with the noise he could make on that, but oh, no! In the next picture he has the drum laid down on the floor and he’s jumping up and down on it like a trampoline. So they decide to try him with something very different and much smaller: a flute. What can anyone do with a flute? Next thing you know, he’s using the flute as a pea-shooter, bombarding the other pupils with a volley of dried peas.

Finally they give him a violin. “He can’t do any harm with that,” says a teacher. “Oh, yes, I CAN,” says the boy, who of course takes that as a challenge. A deliciously wicked grin spreads over his face. “I can do THIS!”—and he proceeds to use the instrument as a bow and arrow! The violin bow becomes the “arrow,” as he pulls the end of it back against the taut violin strings and lets it go. PYOOIINNNGGG! CRASH!—straight through the window.

Wherever he goes, this little boy can find a way to wreak destruction all around. That’s Barry Minkow all over. No matter what job he’s supposed to be doing—whether it’s cleaning carpets, exposing alleged “corporate fraud” (there’s a fine irony in that!), or acting as pastor to his spiritual flock—he can find a way to turn it into a scam and rip people off. Next thing we know, they’ll be putting him back in prison where he belongs; and before we know it, he’ll be operating yet another scam behind bars! The one comforting thought is that he won’t be practicing it on the public at large, as he too often did before.

Meanwhile, I gather that a lady member of his church congregation could be out as much as $300,000, which she lent him to finance a movie about—get this!—his life and redemption! His “redemption”? That’s a joke in itself! That’s got to be one of the world’s shortest movies!—along the lines of “the world’s shortest books.” You know, like “My Book of Morals,” by Bill Clinton, “The Pitcairn Island Telephone Directory,” “Career Opportunities for Liberal Arts Majors,” “Amelia Earhart’s Guide to the Pacific Ocean,”, and many others, including recent additions like “The Squeaky-Clean Image of the Teenage Girl Next Door,” by Miley Cyrus. “Barry Minkow’s Redemption,” what a riot! I fondly hope that this good-hearted and deserving lady was not utterly ruined by her generous but ill-advised gift to such an undeserving charlatan.


Wow, this guy was even a fraud investigator at one time? These spaths have no shame! Undoubtedly he used that career to learn how to cover up his own frauds. This guy is diabolical. An example of what happens when high ambition and a cunning mind meet with a lack of conscience, scruples, and fear. But as smart as cunning as they are, they are usually overconfident and think they won’t get caught. It’s the fatal flaw in their design that prevents them from succeeding for very long.

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