The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Former pastor, con man Barry Minkow gets 5 years in prison for defrauding San Diego church

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SAN DIEGO - A con-man-turned-pastor has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for embezzling $3 million from his San Diego church congregation.

Barry Minkow was ordered Monday to do the time after he completes a Florida sentence of up to 21 months for an unrelated fraud.

Minkow, who's 48, became famous as a teenager for founding the ZZZZ Best carpet cleaning company. It made him a millionaire but was embroiled in a $100 million fraud scheme. Minkow went to prison, was released in 1995 and two years later became pastor of the San Diego Community Bible Church.

Prosecutors say he opened unauthorized church accounts, forged checks and stole member donations. In a letter to the judge, Minkow said he regrets his actions.

In court, parishioners said they felt he'd betrayed them.

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