Saturday, September 13, 2008

Decades Later, ZZZBest Comes Clean

Most of you will not be old enough to remember Barry Minkow, and his ironically-named former darling growth company ZZZZ Best. Those who do will forever associate its overly-youthful founder (he was 16, as pictured above) with fraud, deception and, if you have a sense of humour, hilarity at the fact that grown-up professional investors drove the carpet-cleaning company's market value past $300mm at one point which is probably more than two billion in today's market-adjusted dollars. But Serge Debrebant in the FT Arts & Weekend tracked-down Mr Minkow and relates a warm and fuzzy story of leopard-spot-changing that is worth a gander .

For those not wanting to read the actually story, Mr Minkow, having served a reasonable stint in the big bouse, discusses his experience with the dark side, the incremental criminal evolution of many fraudstersactivities and his redemption. Having repented and seen the error of ways, Minkow is now, ironically, a committed fraud-buster, (for as he says, who better to catch a contrapreneur than a fraudster?!?!) and he goes on to describe some of his recent exploits at doing good to make up for doing bad in his personal "My Name is Earl" pursuit.


matt said...

He's a small timer compared to the fraudsters in New York and Washington.

PS: I'm 24 and I've heard of Minkow. Some geezers still write about him in their books when they mention Ponzi schemes. :D

mxq said...

This kinda reminds me of the 1988 movie Vice Versa.

Come to think of it, Fred Savage's performance (career?) was equally, if not more, criminal than Manikow's.

Anonymous said...

I've had anal sex with several of all of your sisters.

-Ibod Catooga

Anonymous said...

do you think lehmam employees will spend years paying money back. I used to work there and last night I thought about writing a book... "How lehman stole money" and I started making a list...

1) Program Trading – We gave it to another agency broker – called .. er.. Lehman Brothers Europe.. Who gave the order to er… Lehman Brothers Japan… who er… executed it at a completely different price to the price you see… but nevermind. It isn’t your money.

2) Over the counter derivatives – Pretending there is no liquidity on the screen and absolutely screwing you on the price

3) Stock Loan – Taking back borrowed shares and not telling you, lending to others, returning, and continuing to get a check from you every month!

4) Synthetic PB - Very complicated confirms with errors in our favor. Want to read that confirm? Get back to me in a couple of months when you deciphered it.

5) Rolling futures contracts – Wow! You thought u made a good investment, we charge you 24 times the original execution cost over a year, by rolling 4 times, and then giving you the screen price for the roll, when there's an interdealer price that is much tighter... where we actually roll you!

6) Front Running - OK our traders don’t front run you, but guess what – every single big order by fido, capital and brandis is front run by hedge funds.. that.. the sales trader might even be invested in!

7) Comission rates have gone to zero. Un bundling has happened. We forgot to tell you… that you are paying 10 times the going rate for that execution. Your fault for focusing on your funds performance and not whats happeening with brokers fees.

8) Great investment Ideas? How about Sell one put buy 10 calls and short skew ahead of a financial crisis! – haha you suckers...

9) CDO’s - the biggest scam of all time.

10) Credit Ratings – We paid “consulting fees” to rating agencies get high ratings before we sold you this toxic shit

11) Employees.. we screwed any of you thbat wsn't in our inner circle. We bought in our friends and paid them $1m bonuses while female Japanese sales people got paid very little …. But we hired a lesbian lawyer, and put “diversity posters “ everywhere to create an illusion of fair employment practices.... – and we paid you in worthless stock. Haha suckers.