Former business prodigy and ex-convict Barry Minkow has plead guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
According to a Miami Department of Justice press release, Minkow admitted that he abused his relationship with federal law enforcement agencies to report false allegations of criminal conduct purportedly committed by homebuilder giant Lennar Corp. and its management.
Minkow, who already had served time in prison for commiting an estimated $1 billion in fraud and for money laundering, now faces up to five years in prison and up to $350,000 in fines for attempting to manipulate Lennar’s stock price.
Minkow spoke to City College students on Feb. 4 during a presentation promoting the League of Innovation’s writing competition “Education, Not Incarceration.” He told students about his Fraud Discovery Institute, a for-profit fraud investigation firm based in California, which he had founded after his prison stint.
Allegedly, Minkow used the Institute to release false statements about Lennar.
Authorities believe Minkow used the Internet, press releases, e-mail communications and the U.S. mail to broadcast false and misleading statements about Lennar with the intent of artificially depressing Lennar’s stock price.
Minkow and his employer had “shorted” the stock, meaning they were in a position to make money when the stock’s price went down.
Minkow’s sentencing hearing is slated for June 16.