Fallen whiz-kid Barry Minkow listened grimly as a jury announced "guilty" 57 times on fraud charges in a $25 million swindle that snared Wall Street brokerages, major banks and small investors.
The 22-year-old defendant, who launched his ZZZZ Best carpet cleaning business in his parents' garage at age 16, had been trying to make a plea bargain only hours before the U.S. District Court jury convicted him on all counts of securities, credit card and mail fraud charges.The jury rejected Minkow's claim that he was a frightened young boy forced by mobsters into a life of crime and accepted the prosecution's portrayal of him as a shrewd young con man with a thirst for money, power and fame.
Minkow could be sentenced to up to 300 years in prison. Judge Dickran Tevrizian set sentencing for Feb. 21.
Minkow's attorney, David Kenner, said he would appeal the conviction, noting that Tevrizian severely limited evidence on Minkow's claims of mob pressure.