California Conman-Turned-Pastor Convicted in Church Scam
California man and con artist Barry Minkow was convicted on Wednesday of cheating his San Diego church congregation out of $3 million.
Minkow pleaded guilty to embezzling funds from the San Diego Community Bible Church. He also admitted to opening unauthorized church bank accounts, forging signatures and using member donations for personal use.
Minkow gained national attention in the 1980s when he found the ZZZZ Best carpet cleaning company, which turned out to be a fraud scheme in which investors poured $100 million into fake fire and water restoration projects.
Though Minkow was charged with 25 years in prison and 57 counts of fraud, he was released in 1995.
In 2011, Minkow was charged with involvement in a scam that cost homebuilder Lennar Corp. nearly $580 million.
The judge described him as a "very gifted person," but he had "no moral compass that says 'stop.'"