BARRY MINKOW PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO MANIPULATE COMMON STOCK OF LENNAR CORPORATION
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Barry Minkow, 44, of San Diego, CA, pled guilty this afternoon to conspiring with others to manipulate the stock price of Lennar Corporation by making false and misleading statements about Lennar Corporation’s business operations and management. Sentencing has been scheduled for June 16, 2011 at 8:30 AM before U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz.
According to the charging document and the plea agreement filed with the Court today, Minkow operated Fraud Discovery Institute, a for profit fraud investigation firm based in California. In this way, Minkow developed ties with federal law enforcement agencies as a purported fraud-finder. As part of the plea, Minkow admitted making false and misleading statements alleging wide-spread improprieties in Lennar Corporation’s financial reporting and business structure, and attacking the personal character of Lennar’s management.
According to the charges and the plea agreement filed with the Court, Minkow was hired to put economic pressure on Lennar to pay money demanded by a business partner in a prior land deal. To this end, beginning in January 2009, Minkow used the Internet, press releases, e-mail communications, Youtube.com videos, and the U.S. mail to broadcast false and misleading statements about Lennar, with the intent of artificially depressing Lennar's stock price.
In today’s plea, Minkow admitted that he abused his relationship with federal law enforcement agencies to report false allegations of criminal conduct purportedly committed by Lennar and its management. Once Minkow confirmed that his allegations had successfully induced law enforcement to open a criminal investigation, Minkow used that knowledge and information to trade Lennar securities for his own benefit.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the cooperative efforts of the Miami Regional Office and the Washington DC Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission. This case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan Dwight O’Quinn and Cristina Perez Soto.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.