ZZZZ Best Inc., 1986
Barry Minkow, the owner of this business, posited that this carpet cleaning company of the 1980s would become the “General Motors of carpet cleaning.” Minkow appeared to be building a multi-million dollar corporation, but he did so through forgery and theft. He created more than 10,000 phony documents and sales receipts, without anybody suspecting anything.
Although his business was a complete fraud, designed to deceive auditors and investors, Minkow shelled out more than $4 million to lease and renovate an office building in San Diego. ZZZZ Best went public in December of 1986, eventually reaching a market capitalization of more than $200 million. Amazingly, Barry Minkow was only a teenager at the time! He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
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