Archive for January 4th, 2012

Possible Punishments for Ronald Weinland If Convicted

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

There is a common misconception that False Prophet Ronald Weinland will easily escape his legal troubles by just paying his taxes.  Comments like these have appeared on blogs recently:

  • “It is likely that RW will be required simply to pay back taxes with a percentage dollar penalty — and only after there is either a convinction or (more likely) an IRS judgment against him.”
  • “But even if he has no real problem with the I.R.S. (and presuming he will be cleared, he would not),…..” {this from Thielogical Bob, who thinks an IRS Criminal Investigation is the same as an audit.  And: No, Bob.  The IRS does not investigate to clear someone. Also, IRS policy is to cease any civil audit while a criminal investigation is underway.}
  • “He probably will avoid actual jail time, he will pay a hefty fine….and probably ask the members for help with it.” {Now I agree with the last part.}
  • “I agree that he probably won’t do time. What does the government gain, except for making an occasional example to put fear in others, from expensively incarcerating someone like him?” {To the first sentence: based on what?  To the second sentence:  Well ….. yeah!!!}

Some think that after the IRS develops a criminal case, the accused can make it go away by simply saying “Well, OK you caught me.  So I’ll pay what I owe and go on.”  It doesn’t quite work that way.  Referring to the last comment quoted above — yes, that’s exactly the “gain” they’re looking for — to put the fear in others against cheating on their taxes.  The above comments are misinformed speculation without basis.  What I have below is based on research of actual source documents, and while I am not a lawyer I think what I have is a lot, lot closer to reality.

IRS Criminal Investigation has spent over 41 months investigating the case and the assigned special agent has likely worked thousands of hours.  Additional effort was required by the Department of Justice to dispute Weinland’s motion to quash summonses in 2008 and to enforce the summons on Weinland’s daughter Audra and church bookkeeper in 2009.  The case has been extensively reviewed by others in the Internal Revenue Service before a decision was made to refer the case to the Department of Justice.  The DoJ Taxation Division has reviewed the case before referring the case the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, who has reviewed it.  And then it was further reviewed by the grand jury which returned an indictment with 5 charges.

So after all that effort, the Government is going to want its pound of flesh from taxpayer (or perhaps not) Ronald Weinland who is incidentally the Spokesman Witness and a False Prophet of the God of Abraham.  After it gets its pound of flesh, the government will only then go after whatever taxes are owed.  So long as a criminal case is under investigation or prosecution, the civil case (audits, etc) is put on hold, but once the criminal case is dispensed with anywhere along the line (ranging from a criminal case dropped due to lack of prosecution potential to the ending of a criminal prosecution whether or not successful) the civil case resumes.  The IRS will go after whatever taxes it feels is due them plus civil penalties.  And there may be civil proceedings even if the criminal case falls apart, since the element of willfulness is not part of a civil case and the burden of proof is less than in a criminal case

The “pound of flesh” would be criminal penalties imposed following the successful prosecution of False Prophet Ronald Weinland in a court of law.  The penalties in the indictment (5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine) are for each and every of the 5 counts.  A total of 25 years in prison and a $1.25 million dollar fine. Many associated with abused PKG members will be disappointed, because in reality Weinland won’t face anything near that penalty from the court if convicted.

The following discussion is derived from the 2010 Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual {PDF File}.  As I am not a legal professional, I may have misinterpreted it, so others are encouraged to review the material.  The following discussion also is moot unless and until False Prophet Ronald Weinland is actually convicted or pleads guilty in US federal court, which has not happened at the time of this posting.

The sentencing guideline has a formula or process.  First, the severity of the crime is assessed to determine the “Offense Level”.  For tax offenses, the table below is used, with the amount of tax loss in dollars determining the “Offense Level”:

Next adjustments are made based on other factors and a sentence is determined based on the offense level and prior criminal history.  The table to the right shows the sentence in months for each offense level.  The sentence is selected to the column corresponding to the number of prior convictions.  As far as I know, Weinland has no prior convictions so the first column (“I”) would be used.

Adjustments downward to the offense level may be made.  From the sentencing guidelines: “If the defendant clearly demonstrates acceptance of responsibility for his offense, decrease the offense level by 2 levels.”  I believe this applies if the defendant pleads guilty to the charges before trial, which is the outcome for most cases in which an indictment is returned.  But Ron must make that decision known during the week prior to the pre-trial conference in mid-March.

Adjustments upward may also be made.  From the sentencing guidelines: “If the offense involved sophisticated means, increase by 2 levels. If the resulting offense level is less than level 12, increase to level 12.”  and: “Conduct such as hiding assets or transactions, or both, through the use of fictitious entities, corporate shells, or offshore financial accounts ordinarily indicates sophisticated means.”  Weinland’s Swiss bank accounts might fit this definition, although he may argue that in his case this was not a sophisticated means since he disclosed their existence in various sermons to his church.

The total of the evaded taxes charged in the indictment of Ronald Weinland was $357,065.  That is offense level 18 (more than $200,000).  If 2 points are added for “sophisticated means” (the Swiss bank accounts), then he would be sentenced at offense level 20.  From the sentencing table shown on the right, offense level 20 has a sentence ranging from 33 to 41 months.  A sentence of 40 months within these guidelines seems appropriate for a convicted lying false prophet (if he is indeed convicted).

On the other hand, perhaps False Prophet Ronald Weinland is not inclined to take his chances at trial and wants to negotiate a plea agreement.  Let’s say that the Assistant US Attorney is willing to re-arraign the Spokesman Witness on just one of the counts.  DoJ policy for plea agreements requires the accused plead guilty to the count with the highest offense level, which is the count for tax year 2008 (that year seems significant for some reason, I’m trying to remember what that is 😉 ) and the amount evaded during that year as charged in the indictment is $133,023.91.  That’s offense level 16.  Let’s say that he is able to persuade them not to add 2 points for “sophisticated means” and to take off 2 points for “thinking differently” about his actions, putting him at offense level 14.  That’s a sentence of 15 to 21 months.  A 15-month sentence would get him out in July of 2013, too late to deliver the Pentecost sermon from the Netherlands.  He would have to wait until 2014 to do that.  Or perhaps go to Jerusalem and lay his corpse in the street for 3 & 1/2 days prior to Pentecost 2 years behind schedule.

So the offense levels would be in the range of 14 to 20 with a sentence ranging from 15 to 41 months.  If Weinland could manage to limit his offense level to zone C (offense level 12 or 13), as a first offender he would be eligible for a split sentence, as little as one-half served in prison and the remainder on probation.  Home detention would be an option.

But if convicted within a range of offense levels of 14 to 20, Ron would be incarcerated for the full sentence.  Except the sentence can be reduced for good behavior by up to 54 days for each year served.  That is Ron must serve about 85.2% of his sentence.  So for a 15-month sentence he could be out in about 13 months, possibly in May of 2013 if beginning incarceration this coming April.  Maybe even in time to do the Pentecost bit in 2013.

Then there are criminal monetary penalties (fines).  The table to the left gives the range of fines.  An offense level of 14 has fines ranging from $4,000 to $40,000.  An offense level of 18 has fines ranging from $6,000 to $60,000.

The fines imposed may be at the higher end of the ranges.  According to the sentencing guidelines, the costs of incarceration are to be considered.  According to Wikipedia, “In 2001 among facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, it cost $22,632 per inmate {per year}, or $62.01 per day.”  There’s been a bit of inflation since 2001, so the costs would be even higher.

Additionally, Weinland would be subject to an additional $100 assessment for each of 5 counts if convicted.

If Weinland takes this to trial and is convicted, he could be required to pay the costs of prosecution.  That would be at minimum the $40 per day paid to each of the jurors and government witnesses along with their travel costs, maybe $700 to $1000 per day for 12 jurors, a couple of alternates, and a couple of witnesses.  The costs for the prosecutor, judge and court staff, and courtroom could be added for the trial time along with the time needed to prepare.  The estimated length of trial is 7 days, not including the time for the jury to deliberate.

The amount of the fines may pale relevant to civil penalties.  Weinland would be expected to pay the $357,065 in taxes owed.  But it could be a lot more with civil penalties.  And could be even more based on the original taxes.  The charges include only the amounts they feel that they can prove that Weinland “willfully” evaded, so they may be conservative as to the amounts.  When pursuing him for amounts owed on a civil basis, the burden of proof is much, much less.  If Weinland is judged unfavorably there could be a lot more that he’ll need to levy from his tithe slaves.    And let’s not forget the cost of Weinland’s legal defense, which includes a great team of lawyers with 2 attorneys and an investigator.

Note: the motion hearing scheduled today for Ronald Weinland has been delayed until February 17.