Today was a red-letter day for Barry Minkow and Sam Antar, who have provided DeepCapture so many Rosencrantz and Guildenstern moments. To summarize:
1) Barry Minkow turned out to be, once again, a crook. See Bloomberg: Minkow in Plea Talks With US Prosecutors Over Fraud Case, Lawyer Says, and LA Times: Barry Minkow to plead guilty to insider trading.
2) Sam Antar went unusually silent about his long-time colleague and friend, Barry Minkow, resorting once again to spewing hateful off-topic smears on message boards rather than address why it is that Sam has spent years working with and defending a fellow who can now look forward to another 5 years of jailhouse stew.
So for those new to this tale, let me fill in some missing pieces. For documentation of all the following claims, see “The ties that bind Sam Antar and Barry Minkow” and “Why Are Fortune Magazine and the New York Financial Media Suddenly Pimping Sam Antar the Crook?“ (Here is more on Minkow, and more on his paymaster, Sam Antar).
Sam Antar is upset because Sam has long defended Barry Minkow. In fact, they are close associates, and have much in common:
- At the age of 23, Barry Minkow was convicted on 57 counts of fraud (Minkow Is Convicted on All Charges : Jury Decides That ZZZZ Best Founder Masterminded Fraud) then sentenced to prison for 25 – 30 years for financial crimes (he served 7).
- Sam Antar was CFO of one of the greatest financial scams of the 1980′s, also committed financial crimes for which he also became a convicted felon (though he ratted on his cousin, Crazy Eddie, to get by with house arrest and skip prison). As Fortune Magazine described the scam: “When the company, which went public in 1984, blew up in a financial scandal in 1987, Sam Antar, an accountant, was its CFO. The debacle cost investors roughly $145 million and involved just about every kind of accounting fraud then known to man, including receipt skimming, money laundering, and the counting of bogus inventory.” Of Sam himself, Fortune wrote, “Sam E. Antar is a convicted felon, and he will not let anyone forget it for a minute. Whenever you find yourself starting to think of him as merely a fast-talking yet charming New York character, he’ll come out with something like: ‘I had no remorse whatsoever as a criminal. I had no concern about any other human being. I enjoyed being a criminal.’” To understand Sam better, I recommend that you re-read the preceding sentence, substituting the word “sociopath” for the words “felon” and criminal”. It will make much more sense.
- In the last five years these two remarkable swindlers successfully repositioned themselves as (I-shit-thee-not) “fraud investigators”, and a gullible financial media not only allowed this to happen by blindly parroting their claims with no scrutiny, they actually (again, I-shit-thee-not) championed the reemergence of Barry Minkow and Sam Antar. In fact, since 2006 the US media have portrayed Barry and Sam as intellectual luminaries and legitimate sources. In 2006 60 Minutes, normally a show with higher journalistic standards than the financial press, devoted a full 14 minute segment to Barry Minkow titled “It Takes One to Know One“. A year later Fortune Magazine displayed their originality of thought and style by doing an identical lotion job on Barry’s colleague Sam Antar, with the title, “Takes One to Know One” (demonstrating literally how a Party Line gets “parroted” by journalists). Here is Sam Antar yucking it up on CNBC with journalistic worthy Herb Greenberg, sharing his deep thoughts with Larry Kudlow, and being given a rub-down in Portfolio Magazine. (Note Portfolio’s URL: “SEC hounding whistle-blowers such as Antar and Einhorn“. That would be David Einhorn, another hedge fund manager whose name turns up in DeepCapture investigations of this riff-raff: How odd). In addition, note that the author of the Portfolio piece is Gary Weiss, about whom one of the most respected journalists in America once warned me, ““I’ve known Weiss for years. Be careful. He’s a psychopath.” (One can read about Gary here: “Gary Weiss, Psychopath and Scaramouch“).
- As convicted felons who played roles in massive financial swindles that became the stuff of legend, Barry Minkow and Sam Antar may have been perplexed at the ease of their return to society as noted economists. But if they were they did not show it, and instead, slid comfortably into new roles that let them return to committing financial crimes, this time with the imprimatur of the mainstream press.
- in 2007 Barry gave sworn testimony (see depositions part 1 and part 2) that Sam Antar had recently sent him a $150,000 wire, then another $100,000 wire, in order to provide vaguely defined services related to the stock market. Given that Sam is a bankrupt and claims to be penniless, that might strike some as odd. I don’t recall penniless people of my acquaintance sending $250,000 wires. When one allegedly penniless convicted swindler wires another convicted fraudster $250,000 for services that neither can explain, I get suspicious. Call me madcap.
- In December, 2010 Barry Minkow was sanctioned by a judge in a civil case involving stock manipulation. Because the LA Weekly is not a New York-based financial publication it was able to report the information fairly, without the glossy spin characteristic of the normally-fawning Wall Street media.
- December, 2010 – LA Weekly wrote: “Barry Minkow Destroyed Evidence And Lied To Court In Extortion of Lennar Corp., Judge Rules“.
- January, 2011 – LA Weekly wrote: “Barry Minkow’s New Scandal: A judge slams the purportedly redeemed con man with huge sanctions. A Miami judge has ruled that former Los Angeles con man Barry Minkow lied, concealed material witnesses and destroyed or discarded key evidence in the libel and extortion lawsuit filed against him by home-building giant Lennar Corp.“
- Today, Barry Minkow pleads guilty in yet another criminal financial case, and according to his lawyer, is hoping to go away for only 5 more years.
If only there were a pattern, if only there were a pattern….
Oh, and lastly, I suppose journalistic ethics require that I disclose that some time ago DeepCapture’s investigations turned up much information and evidence that, as concerned citizens, we turned over to Lennar Corp, which Lennar put to great effect in developing their civil suit, which ultimately resulted both in the Miami judge sanctioning Barry Minkow and (today) in Barry Minkow’s guilty pleading in a criminal case. I thought it only fair that DeepCapture’s intimate involvement in exposing Barry Minkow be known by the reader, and by Barry himself. He can stew on that for the next 5 years.