Pastor Resigns After Guilty Plea Connected To Federal Suit

Barry Minkow Was Formerly Pastor Of Community Bible Church In Mira Mesa

High-profile pastor Barry Minkow resigned from Community Bible Church in Mira Mesa on Tuesday after agreeing to plead guilty in connection with a federal lawsuit.

Minkow is nationally known for turning his Los Angeles carpet-cleaning company into a $100 million Ponzi scheme.

But after serving seven years in prison, Minkow became a born-again Christian and eventually took over as lead pastor at Community Bible Church in Mira Mesa.

An e-mail sent to church members on Tuesday afternoon stated: "Today Barry resigned as our senior pastor as he is no longer qualified to be a pastor. Pastor Barry no longer considers himself above reproach as he has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal count related to the Lennar lawsuit."

Some church members called the news sad, saying Minkow had always been transparent with the congregation.

Church member Jack Myers said, "I actually think that if Barry feels that he did something wrong and he's willing to adjudicate this immediately and take his actions that's what a Christian man should do."

A federal judge ruled on the lawsuit referenced in the e-mail a couple months ago, stating that Minkow and his Fraud Discovery Institute -- which was dedicated to exposing fraud -- "concealed, destroyed, discarded [and] violated court orders."

The judge ruled in favor of Lennar Homes because of Minkow's "fraudulent activities in this investigation."

During an interview in February, Minkow said he had done nothing wrong and told 10News to look at all the good things that have been accomplished by the Fraud Discovery Institute.

"We had 24 cases, 23 led to convictions ... This is case number 24. It's not over yet," said Minkow in that earlier interview.

For now though, it appears to be over.

Church members said for the past three years, Minkow did not accept a paycheck and, despite his flaws, he did have some positive impact.

"This town has been greatly benefited by pastor Barry and I think he'll be sorely missed," said Myers.

Calls to Minkow's attorney for comment on his intended plea were not returned.

10News also tried calling Minkow but his phone was disconnected.

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