Barry Minkow, a former Wall Street whiz kid who spent seven years in prison for stock fraud and later emerged to become a church pastor and a financial-fraud investigator, will plead guilty to insider trading and could spend up to five years in prison, according to his attorney.

The charge stems from a federal investigation in Florida involving a business, the Fraud Discovery Institute, that Minkow set up while guiding Community Bible Church in Mira Mesa.

His idea was to reveal corporate fraud while holding short positions in the companies he exposed, allowing him to profit on declines in stock prices. One of his online attacks, a January 2009 diatribe against Lennar Corp., drove Lennar's stock down 20 percent. The Miami home builder to sue Minkow for libel and extortion.

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