An investigation of the many scams of Minkow—who goes from prison, to church, and then back to prison:
"Minkow was the boy-wonder business phenom of the 1980s. In 1982, at age 16, he started ZZZZ Best, a carpet-cleaning company, from his parents' garage in Reseda, Calif., in the San Fernando Valley. The business expanded rapidly and went public in 1986, making Minkow, at age 20, worth more than $100 million on paper. But it was a giant Ponzi scheme and collapsed in May 1987. Minkow was convicted of 57 federal felonies, sentenced to 25 years, and ordered to pay $26 million in restitution. ...
"The story of Minkow's life is comic, tragic, and psychologically perplexing. Minkow is blessed with intelligence, courage, indomitable drive, rhetorical gifts, an apparent desire to do good, and a record of documented beneficent deeds. Yet he also keeps doing ghastly things. His story is hard to read without pondering the question, Is character destiny? More narrowly, can a con man ever be redeemed?"
PUBLISHED: Jan. 5, 2012
LENGTH: 32 minutes (8176 words)