There are so many to choose from that these are the ones from the 1980s and the 1990s. More will follow!
1. Barry Minkow
A 15-year-old kid, which makes the story all the more worthy. The guy went from nothing to millionaire, with an IPO and hit the big time. Then, he ended up in prison to pay for the dastardly deed. You have to admire him though. A smooth-talking crook as good as they ever get.
He founded ZZZZ Best, a carpet-cleaning and restoration company at the age of 15, in San Fernando Valley. He had trouble making ends meet and despite his idea, he had banks closing down on him at the start because he was under age and minors can’t sign contracts or checks. He joined forces with Tom Padgett and forged documents for carpet restoration, stating that he was working on various projects to make it look like he had business. They set up a company to front the operation, Interstate Appraisal Services. The fake company gave the banks the ‘proof’ that he was raking it in and everybody believed him. Kids don’t lie, do they? The insurance company amounted to some 86% of his revenue. But, that was all fake. The carpet-cleaning company was bone fide, though. He financed his carpet-cleaning business by check-kiting schemes: he wrote checks from account X to finance account Y, and then wrote checks immediately from account Y back to account X and the money (which never existed) just got transferred from one account to another. Child’s play, wasn’t it? Now, don’t go getting any ideas, the banks will find out (one day)! (more…)