Man Behind Sting Operations for ZZZZ Best Given 5-Year Sentence
A man who helped ZZZZ Best Carpet Cleaning Co. set up an elaborate series of sting operations to dupe investors into giving the company millions of dollars in bank loans and stock offerings was sentenced Monday to five years in prison.
Mark Roddy, who helped set up tours of phony job sites to make it appear that ZZZZ Best was earning huge revenues from restoration work, was also ordered to serve five years’ probation at the end of his term.
U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian handed down the sentence after federal prosecutors urged him not to give Roddy leniency simply because of his claim that he is a religious man.
ZZZZ Best founder Barry Minkow, 22, convicted as the architect of a massive fraud that may have totaled as much as $70 million, is now leading a Bible study group, dubbed “Barry’s Boys,” in the downtown federal prison where he awaits sentencing Feb. 21, prosecutors told the judge.
“He has readings where he gets up on a couple of stairs, and he reads from the Bible and gives a little sermon,” said Assistant U.S. Atty. James Asperger.
Prosecutors said Roddy, who posed as the owner of a company that was supposedly handling ZZZZ Best’s fraudulent insurance restoration contracts, took care of minute details at the makeshift job sites to convince accountants and lawyers that the jobs were real.
In an instance that Assistant U.S. Atty. Gordon Greenberg called “the height of intelligence and shrewdness, at least for a criminal mind,” Roddy bribed a guard at a Sacramento office building to greet Roddy and another ZZZZ Best official by name as they entered the building with the accountants for the tour of a floor that ZZZZ Best was supposedly rebuilding.
But Roddy’s attorney said his client was merely a “glorified gofer” who had arranged the tours but who never made much money off the ZZZZ Best fraud.
Because he is albino, defense lawyer Cornell Price said, Roddy felt a sense of belonging at ZZZZ Best that he had never experienced before.
“What you have here is a fellow who’s been kind of an outcast all of his life. . . . All of a sudden he was going to belong to something that was significant, that was going to make him feel significant,” Price said.
Roddy himself admitted he should have backed out of ZZZZ Best once he learned that the restoration jobs were phony.But he told Tevrizian that he always believed that ZZZZ Best would be able to end the fraud and go legitimate. “I thought somehow we would pull the thing together.”