Pastor At Church Reporting $50K Stolen Has Criminal Past

Barry Minkow Is Senior Pastor Of Community Bible Church In Mira Mesa

The story of a church burglary 10News reported about Monday night at 11 is taking a strange twist. After the report about the theft of more than $50,000 from the church's safe, we heard from some 10News viewers who told us there's something more that should be known about the senior pastor.

Barry Minkow is a senior pastor at Community Bible Church in Mira Mesa. Television news magazine, 60 Minutes once had this to say about him: "If you were to start a hall of fame for con men, Barry Minkow would have to be an inductee."

Minkow openly admits that in the past he was no saint, but said that he has changed.

Minkow gained national attention on 60 Minutes for his past crimes including turning a Los Angeles-based carpet cleaning company into a $100 million Ponzi scheme. After serving 7 years in prison, a born-again Barry Minkow exited, and eventually joined the Community Bible Church. That's where the break-in took place late Sunday night.

Minkow spoke with 10News about the burglary as well as his Fraud Discovery Institute, an organization that claims to be dedicated to exposing fraud.

It was his work with the Institute and its investigation into home builder Lennar Corporation which led to a defamation lawsuit. A judge ruled on the case several weeks ago, and 10News found this case after receiving tips from viewers.

A Florida judge ruled in the case that Minkow and the Institute concealed, destroyed, discarded, and violated court orders.

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

Minkow, who told 10News that his congregation is aware of the Florida lawsuit, said he did nothing wrong and we should look at all the good works the Fraud Institute has done. "We had 24 cases; 23 lead to convictionsÂ… it's not over yet," he said.

Any speculation about his involvement in the church break-in is off base, he said, adding that his bad days are behind him.

"I don't have access to any of the church's business," he said. "I can't write anything on the church's checking accounts."

There is nothing connecting Pastor Minkow to the theft of more than $50,000 from the church.

The burglary has been assigned a case number and more information about the case is expected to be released over the next few days.

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