Barry Minkow, the man who scammed L.A. in the '80s with a $100 million ponzi scheme involving a carpet cleaning company called ZZZZ Best, seemed to get his act together after that scandal and the 7 years of prison time it inspired.

He consulted the FBI about how to ID corporate schemers, and he became a donor to San Diego's Community Bible Church (though members there would later allege he bilked them too). Upstanding? Then he got caught up on a play to drive down the stock price of Home builder Lennar Corp.

Prosecutors said that amounted to federal conspiracy. And Minkow said he did it. Today he was sentenced to five years behind bars.

Minkow tried to get a lenient deal from the Miami U.S. District Court judge in the case, writing that he needs meds that can't be had in jail and that his two sons have learning disabilities and need his help, according to the Los Angeles Times.

During his self-styled reformation, he even established a company called the Fraud Discovery Institute.

When a La Jolla businessman with soured ties to the company allegedly wanted to put Lennar's stock in the toilet, Minkow was in. Authorities said he spread false information about the company that damaged hurt its $400 million market value by $400 million at one point.

Prosecutors say the guy has a history of tricking people, and they asked for five years.

They got it, and then some. The judge today ordered Minkow to pay $583 million in restitution.

“The truth about me,” Minkow wrote to the judge, “is I am a 45-year-old loser…”

Read our feature “Barry Minkow 2.0” here.


LA Weekly