EXCLUSIVE: Barry Minkow, who ran one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history, is to be the subject of a new docuseries after partnering with The Content Group and Intervention producer Sami Abdou.
The Content Group, which is part of Steve Michaels’ Asylum Entertainment Group, the company behind The Kennedys, TNT’s Shaq Life and Penn State feature doc Happy Valley, will develop and produce the premium limited series with Abdou. They are taking it out to market shortly.
Minkow started a carpet cleaning business, ZZZZ Best Carpet and Furniture Cleaning, while still in high school and by the age of 19 he took the company public on the New York Stock Exchange with the evaluation of $280 million. However, it turned out to be a massive Ponzi scheme, costing investors and lenders over $100 million and considered one of the largest investment frauds ever perpetrated by a single person, as well as one of the largest accounting frauds in history.
After being released from jail, Minkow charted a new path, becoming a pastor and launching a fraud investigation firm Fraud Discovery Institute that worked with the FBI and SEC to help expose nearly $1B in fraud.
His life story was turned into the movie Con-Man, which he starred in alongside James Caan and Mark Hamill., but, as production was finishing, Minkow was charged with insider trading, having secretly used his Institute to short the stocks of the businesses he was investigating. While in jail, he also admits to defrauding his own church to help pay for his film.
Jodi Flynn, President of The Content Group, will exec produce alongside Steve Michaels and Sami Abdou.
Flynn said, “Barry’s life is a real-life house of cards story; from boy phenom to Ponzi scheme, from redeemed pastor to insider trader – you can’t write it. We have unprecedented access to tell his point of view, not just the details of his trickery but why he committed crimes time and time again.”