The Content Group — part of Asylum Entertainment Group — along with producer Sami Abdou have struck a partnership with “legendary con artist” Barry Minkow to adapt his life story for a premium limited series.
While still in high school, Minkow started his carpet cleaning business ZZZ Best Carpet and Furniture Cleaning. By the age of 19, he took the company public on the New York Stock Exchange with the evaluation of US$280 million.
He was hailed as a “whiz kid,” the “miracle on wall street” and made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
In 1987, it’s revealed that the company was a front to attract investment for a Ponzi scheme, costing investors and lenders more than $100 million.
Considered one of the largest investment frauds to be perpetuated by a single person, as well as one of the largest accounting frauds in American history, the scheme is often used to this day as a case study for accounting fraud.
After being released from jail, Minkow became a pastor, launched a fraud investigation firm Fraud Discovery Institute, and spoke at schools about ethics and works with the FBI and SEC.
While working with the FBI, he exposed nearly $1 billion in fraud. His life story was soon after made into the movie Con-Man in which he starred as himself alongside actors such as James Caan and Mark Hamill.
However, as production finished, 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 admitted to defrauding his own church to help pay for his film.
Jodi Flynn (pictured), president of The Content Group, said in a statement: “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.”
Flynn serves as executive producer with CEO Steve Michaels for The Content Group, along with Abdou.