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    Barry Minkow

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    March 17, 1967 —

    What's the deal with carpet cleaning? In the 70s, there was that carpet cleaning cult. In the 80s, the carpet cleaning Ponzi scheme. Do you remember that one?

    Barry Minkow was a regular success story: he started his carpet cleaning business, ZZZZ Best, as a teenager. In 1986, he took his company public, the youngest person in American history to do so. He was an instant multi-millionaire before the age of 20. And, to top it off, ZZZZ best did a phenomenal job cleaning carpets. The future was bright.

    And then, in an instant, it all ended. Minkow resigned. The stock crashed. It turned out that Minkow was running a massive Ponzi scheme, with the carpet cleaning being a front for an insurance scam. He also laundered money for drug dealers.

    Minkow went to jail, but the story didn't end for him there. While incarcerated, he ditched Judaism and became a Christian. When he got out, Minkow became a pastor... and then, went to jail again for embezzling his constituents.

    At least he didn't start a cult...

    Verdict: Barely a Jew.

    August 17, 2015

    See Also

    Jack Abramoff

    Jordan Belfort

    Bernie Madoff

    Adam Neumann

    Martin Shkreli
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