Monday, April 11, 2011

Reformed Criminal, Wasn’t

In a story reported by the Milwaukee Star Tribune, an ageless story that keeps being retold, a criminal who had appeared to be reformed, wasn’t.

It is the type of story which all too often happens and which germinated Lampstand's second benchmark and relates to the third—see our website—which Lampstand uses to determine true reformation from false in identifying deep knowledge leaders of community criminal transformative programs.

An excerpt from the Star Tribune story.

“MIAMI - Convicted conman Barry Minkow, a famed carpet cleaning entrepreneur who served prison time for fleecing investors out of millions in the 1980s, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a new fraud charge that potentially cost homebuilder Lennar Corp. more than half a billion dollars in lost stock value.

“In hopes of reducing his possible five-year prison sentence, Minkow is also cooperating in an FBI investigation into a California developer allegedly involved in the Lennar scheme, according to Minkow's lawyer Alvin Entin.

"It's real, it's substantial," Entin said at a plea hearing in federal court. "We have already turned over thousands of pages of documents to the government."

“Following his first prison stretch, Minkow became a pastor in San Diego and also a valued FBI informant who helped ferret out phony business deals through the Fraud Discovery Institute he founded.

“The developer in the Lennar case, identified in court papers as Nicolas Marsch III of San Diego, has not been charged. Through his attorney, Marsch said he had no knowledge of Minkow's attempt to manipulate Lennar's stock price but insisted he was hired only to investigate purported Lennar misconduct.

“According to court documents, Marsch in 2006 began a campaign to force Lennar to pay him some $39 million stemming from a California land deal. This included writing letters to Lennar's board of directors — among them, University of Miami President Donna Shalala — claiming Marsch would "air (Lennar's) dirty little secrets" if the money wasn't paid.

“After Minkow was brought on board, according to court papers, he was able to issue press releases, emails and YouTube videos claiming Lennar was beset by fraudulent accounting, misappropriation of company funds and other corporate malfeasance. One Internet site used the name "lenn-ron" in an attempt to compare Lennar to the failed and corrupt Enron Corp.

“All false, Minkow admitted in court Wednesday, and geared to pressure the company to pay Marsch.”