Wonder Boy: Barry Minkow, the Kid Who Swindled Wall Street

Daniel Akst, Author Scribner Book Company $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-18988-8
A hyperactive child, compulsive teenage achiever and adult charmer, Barry Minkow at age 21 in 1987 controlled a $100-million, California-based carpet-cleaning and building-restoration business. A media darling well connected on Wall Street, he was in prison within a year. He was a con man: there were no restoration jobs or carpet-cleaning profits. Lenders were paid off by later investors in a Ponzi scheme, with Minkow extracting funds from girlfriends, gangsters, imprudent bankers and venture capitalists while his lieutenants set up dummy work sites in order to deceive investors and creditors. Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal correspondent Akst, whose reporting spurred Minkow's rise as well as his fall, breathlessly tells an intricate story of greed, chicanery and ruin, which he does not make entirely comprehensible. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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