Docs

“King of the Con,” doc on swindler Barry Minkow, slated for Discovery+ in January

Discovery+ has announced that King of the Con, a three-part doc about the life and crimes of serial scam artist Barry Minkow, will be available to stream in its entirety ...
December 17, 2021

Discovery+ has announced that King of the Con, a three-part doc about the life and crimes of serial scam artist Barry Minkow, will be available to stream in its entirety beginning Friday, January 14, 2022. The miniseries is produced by The Content Group, with Pamela Deutsch serving as executive producer for Discovery+.

Minkow rose to business-world fame in the 1980s as the teenage entrepreneur behind the successful carpet-cleaning company ZZZZ Best, but the shine soon came off when it was discovered that the business was an elaborate Ponzi scheme, with connections to organized crime to boot. Minkow, along with 10 of his confederates, was indicted in 1988 on a laundry list of charges (including racketeering, embezzlement, money laundering, and multiple counts of fraud), and received a sentence of 25 years in federal prison.

A second act in the scandalized wonder boy’s life seemed to be in the offing when, following his come-to-Jesus moment during his incarceration and early release from prison in 1995, Minkow became a pastor at a San Diego church, used his firsthand knowledge of the subject to establish a fraud detection business, and became a best-selling author with a book that detailed the ZZZZ Best scam, whose profits he donated to his victims.

However, the extended redemption tour came to a crashing halt in 2011, when it was revealed that Minkow had used his Fraud Discovery Institute to engage in insider trading, and also embezzled more than $3 million from his church congregation over a 10-year period—funds which, among other things, were used to help bankroll a Hollywood biopic in which Minkow starred as himself, alongside such famous faces as James Caan, Mark Hamill, and Ving Rhames. This latest round of chicanery earned Minkow another five years behind bars.

Along with testimony from the famed fraudster’s family members, accomplices, and victims, King of the Con puts the recently released Minkow himself front and center, as he recounts and reflects on his multiple rises and falls. “What’s so intriguing about Barry Minkow is not how much he stole, but how he was able to get away with his crimes again and again,” said Jason Sarlanis, president of Crime & Investigative Content at Discovery Inc.

King of the Con offers a glimpse inside the mind of one of the most notorious, over-the-top con men to ever exist and a very rare opportunity to hear, firsthand, from him exactly how he managed to defraud countless people over four decades.”

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