Archive for the ‘IRS’ Category

Testimony of Joyce Garrett

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

During the criminal trial of False Prophet Ronald Weinland, several PKG members were called by the government to testify.  The first of these was Joyce Garrett, who lives across the street from Ron and put up her home as bond to allow Ron to stay at home to watch Cable TV and disfellowship members who don’t love the Ron god enough to pay tithes.  The lines beginning with “Q” are by US Attorney Robert McBride and “A” by Joyce.

McBride’s Direct Examination of Joyce Garrett:

Q Good afternoon, ma’am. What is your full name, please?
A Joyce Garrett.
Q Where do you live, ma’am?
A You want the full address or just — I live in Boone County, Kentucky.
Q You live in the Triple Crown Subdivision, don’t you?
A I beg your pardon?
Q Triple Crown? Do you live in Triple Crown, ma’am?
A Yes, that’s correct.
Q All right. And do you know Mr. Weinland?
A I do.
Q Would you tell us how you know Mr. Weinland?
A He’s my minister.
{and neighbor}
Q Okay. How did you come to Mr. Weinland’s church?
A Well, it was through a process. I was with the church that had the apostasy and through the process of elimination of listening to other ministers, then I came to Mr. Weinland’s church. I’m sure you don’t want the full story.
Q No, ma’am, I would like the full story, if you could. Tell the ladies and gentlemen what you mean by the apostasy and what church you were referring to?
A Well, I was with what was called the Worldwide Church of God and the apostasy is where our beliefs were totally turned upside down and — which had been told in scriptures what was to happen, and that’s why it’s called the apostasy, it actually comes from the scriptures. {Like many ex-WCG members, Ron’s prophetic interpretation of WCG history resonates} And so once that occurred, then most of us left and the church pretty much scattered into a lot of individual groups. And so it was from there that we had to select, well, where were we going to go in order to listen to the minister that would be adhering to what we considered the truth.
Q Can I ask a couple of follow-up questions. The Worldwide Church, that was the church led by Herbert Armstrong; correct?
A Correct.
Q All right. And at what place were you living when the apostasy occurred?
A In the State of Maryland.
Q All right. And at that time, your husband was still alive; correct?
A Correct.
Q And what was his profession?
A He was a dentist.
Q Okay. All right. And as I understand it, you came to follow Mr. Weinland after the apostasy; correct?
A Not right at first. We went several places and then decided eventually to go with Mr. Weinland.
Q And why did you decide to follow Mr. Weinland?
A Beg your pardon?
Q Why did you decide to follow Mr. Weinland?
A Because he was adhering to the teachings that we had with the original church and was adhering more closely than any of the other ministers.
Q All right. And over time, did you become a member of the Church of God – Preparing for the Kingdom?
A Correct, yes.
Q And how is it that you moved to Northern Kentucky? How did that happen, ma’am?
A Well, my husband died and I remained in Maryland for about two years, and so I knew a lot of people in Cincinnati and elsewhere and then I — it was sort of a process of elimination as to — to determine where I would live. And I chose this particular area because it was centrally located and so that I could go and visit others and in most cases be able to drive there.
Q Were there people you knew here in a congregation?
A Yes. Yes.
Q And how did it come to be that you ended up — You’re essentially a neighbor of Mr. Weinland’s, aren’t you?
A Correct, yes.
Q How did you end up as Mr. Weinland’s neighbor?
A Well, I was — I started out looking for property in Cincinnati and I wanted to — I wanted to have something that — because of my age, I wanted something that would be more of a rancher-type home. And so I was not finding anything suitable right away and so when I was talking with Mr. Weinland at one point and I was describing to him what I was looking for, because I wanted to be near a major highway, I wanted more of a rancher-type home and such, and he said, “Well, that sounds similar to the house that we moved into.” And so he offered that when I would come down to be looking around for property, if I wanted to look at his house, I could. And so I did. But I didn’t make the decision right away, I continued to look some more, and then I realized, well, that particular area, that the house suited me more than anything that I had seen.
Q Now, one of the things that we’re concerned about here today are the operations of the Church of God and I want to ask some questions of you as a member about the church. Okay. Do you belong to a local congregation?
A Yes.
Q Where and when do you meet?
A Well, we meet on Sabbath, Saturday is our Sabbath, and we meet here in Cincinnati.
Q Where specifically in Cincinnati do you meet?
A At the La Quinta hotel.
Q How are the — you meet in a meeting room; correct?
A In a meeting room, yes.
Q How is that meeting room arranged, do you know?
A In terms of payment or — what do you mean, arranged?
Q How is it scheduled and paid for, do you know?
A Well, I’m assume it’s paid for by the church.
MR. CLINE: Your Honor, I apologize. Forgive me for interrupting. I’m going to object for lack of foundation. I believe she said she assumed.
THE WITNESS: I’m sorry, I can’t hear you.
MR. CLINE: I’m sorry, I’ll try to speak a little louder.
THE COURT: All right. I’ll overrule the objection at this point. I believe you were following up, Mr. McBride; is that correct?
MR. MCBRIDE: All right. Thank you, Your Honor.
BY MR. MCBRIDE:
Q As a member, do you pay for the meeting room?
A No, I don’t, no.
Q And you don’t get any kind of reimbursement for the meeting rooms, do you?
A No. No.
Q You have to drive to the meetings from your home in Union to Cincinnati and back; correct?
A Correct.
Q Do you get any reimbursement for your mileage?
A No.
Q Would you expect any?
A No.
Q Now, I know that you hear sermons from Mr. Weinland at your meetings. How do you receive those sermons?
A It’s over the Internet and sometimes he’s there in person, because he does travel from area to area, so — but when he’s not here, then we hear them over the Internet.
Q All right. Are you aware of other congregations of your church?
A Yes.
Q Where are they located?
A All over. I mean, all over the United States and other countries.
Q There’s some in Europe and some in —
A Yes.
Q Very good.
A Yes.
Q Have you ever traveled to any of those other congregations?
A Only — and not recently, but I’ve gone to — just a couple of times to others here in the United States. And occasionally in the past, when my husband was alive, when it was feast time, and then a couple of times we went to other countries during the feast.
Q Did the church reimburse you for your expenses traveling to and from the feasts?
A No.
Q Would you expect the church to?
A Pardon me?
Q Would you expect the church to?
A No. No.
Q You mentioned holy days and feasts. Generally, are the holy days in the springtime?
A Well, they start in the spring and then it goes into the fall.
Q My understanding, and correct me if I’m wrong, I thought you had some holy days in the spring and then you had the Feast of the Tabernacles in the fall. Is that not accurate?
A Well, the Feast of Tabernacles is also holy days. The holy days start in the spring and they’re like in the summertime and then in the fall.
Q I see. They’re not continuous, but they happen during that period of time?
A Right. They’re individual holy days, yes.
Q Thank you for helping me understand that. Have you ever served as an elder in the church?
A No.
Q Who serves as the elder for your congregation?
A There’s several.
Q Who are they, ma’am?
A Do you want the names?
Q Yes, please.
A Okay. All of them?
Q Yes, please.
A Let’s see, there’s Steve Dalrymple, Tim Brown, Sandy Bays, Bobbie Brown, Lois Domeland. Do you want me to continue?
Q No, that’s fine.
A Okay.
Q So there are several?
A Yes.
Q This may seem obvious to you, but I want to ask you, are there any permanent buildings, like churches or anything of that nature, that the church has?
A No.
Q All right. I would like to ask you about, from my point of two, the income of the church. Do you tithe to the church?
A Yes.
Q All right. Could you explain to the jury the system of tithing used in your church?
A You tithe on your increase, and this would be, say, for example, if you’re a working person and you would tithe on the net, and the tithe is 10 percent, and this is what’s prescribed by scripture. It would mean that after you paid taxes, after all of the deductions, Social Security and whatnot, then whatever your net would be, then you tithe 10 percent on that.
Q How often do you do that, ma’am?
A Well, as often as you get paid. So it would be for the — whatever you would make for the entire year, and if you’re paid weekly — some people will take it out weekly, some will take it out monthly, depending upon how you’re paid.
Q And as I understand it, that’s referred to as first tithe; correct?
A I’m sorry?
Q That’s first tithe?
A That’s first tithe; correct.
Q What is second tithe?
A Second tithe is where you have another 10 percent and you use that for attending holy days. It’s like a savings, but that’s just for your use, that’s not for the church’s use.
Q It’s never sent to the church, is it?
A Pardon me?
Q It’s not sent to the church, it’s kept for yourself?
A Some people will take what they call a tithe of a tithe. If they have — if it’s someone who makes a lot more money than someone else and in order to go to attend the feast they only need a certain amount of money, well, in order to help others who might not have as much, then they may go ahead and offer more of theirs or like what’s called a tithe of a tithe. You take 10 percent of it, that goes in and then it helps others to attend the feasts.
Q Very good. What is third tithe?
A Well, third tithe in our church now is not collected. It was at one time when we were in Worldwide and — but basically what the third tithe is for are for people who are unable to take care of themselves, and so once the — once the welfare system and other groups within the government, once they were formed where people could go to agencies and get the help, well, then the third tithe then was discontinued. Now, still — in some groups it’s still done.
Q Still done, but not in your church?
A Right.
Q Very good. What are the different — what are offerings and what’s the difference between offerings and tithe?
A Well, in the offerings, it’s prescribed in the Bible that when we attend the Holy Days we give a — what’s called a free will offering, and this can be based on whatever you want to give. And what people do is they determine, well, how much they have, they feel that sometimes they’ve been blessed by things they’ve done and they feel then, okay, well, they may give more. But you give it according to what you want, it’s your choice.
{Interesting concept. A prescribed free-will offering.}
Q And as I understand it, people who are unemployed and who are retired don’t have to tithe; is that correct?
A Correct. It’s only on your increase.
Q Thank you. Do you still tithe?
A Yes.
Q Could you tell me, where do you send your tithe?
A To the Post Office box — sometimes I — since I live across the street, sometimes I hand it to someone, but otherwise we have the envelopes that have the Post Office box for the church and you can mail it.
Q That’s a Post Office box in Cincinnati, ma’am?
A Correct.
Q Okay. And when you happen to be in the neighborhood or over near Mr. Weinland’s house, who would you hand your tithe to?
A To Audra Weinland.
Q Why would you hand it to Audra?
A Because it saves me a stamp.
{Joyce.  Joyce.  Joyce.  You should save all of it.}
Q Okay. Fair enough. Does Audra have a role in the church with regards to the tithes that’s you’re aware of?
A I know that she handles some of the bookkeeping. I don’t know specifically what she does, but I know she does some of the books.
Q That’s what I was asking. Thank you. In what form do you give your tithe?
A Check.
Q Always a check?
A Yes, never cash.
Q And do you get any documentation back from the church about your tithe?
A Yes.
Q What do you get?
A It’s a statement that gives the details, it gives the check number and the amount and shows what it’s for. And those come quarterly, and then at the end of the year, it’s all summarized on one statement.
Q All right. Do you check those statements?
A Yes.
Q Why do you check them?
A Because that’s my nature, I check everything.
{Joyce, “everything” includes Ron’s prophetic track record. No, you don’t check everything.}
Q And are they usually accurate?
A Yes.
Q All right. What do you do with them?
A I keep them.
Q All right. Do you use the annual statement for anything?
A If — when the taxes are prepared, I’ll show that as an offering, yes.
Q So that’s a charitable contribution you deduct from your taxes?
A Yes. Yes.
Q Okay. Thank you. Do you know what Mr. Weinland’s salary is?
A No.
Q Do you know if Mrs. Weinland is employed by the church?
A I don’t know as an employee. I know that she’s part of the church, an integral part of the church.
Q She’s clearly part of the spiritual church; correct?
A Pardon me?
Q She’s clearly part of the spiritual church?
A Oh, yes. Definitely, yes.
Q But you don’t know whether she’s a paid employee, do you?
A I do not know that, no.
Q Are you aware that Mr. Weinland put some church money in a Swiss account?
A Yes.
Q What did you — did you attend a sermon in which you heard that?
A Yes.
Q What did Mr. Weinland say about it?
A That — during that time, there was a lot of talk in the news and all around that the dollar was going to be in trouble and he made statements concerning that, because it was at a time that — I can’t remember if that’s during the time that the books were being done or they were talking about doing the books. But there was concern that if the dollar did go down dramatically, if there were any problems that way, by putting some money in that account, then that would kind of safeguard things and so the church could still operate.
Q Do you know how much money he put in those accounts?
A No.
Q Do you know what bank the accounts were in?
A No.
Q Do you know whose name was on the accounts?
A No.
Q Do you know how many deposits were made into those accounts?
A No.
Q When you were with Worldwide Church, did they provide financial statements of the entire church?
A That was — not to my knowledge. But I did hear just a day or so ago, though —
MR. CLINE: I apologize, ma’am. I object, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. I’ll sustain the objection based on hearsay.
MR. MCBRIDE: Thank you, Your Honor.
BY MR. MCBRIDE:
Q So you never saw a financial statement from Worldwide Church?
A I did not. A statement was made just the other day, so I’m just saying —
MR. CLINE: I apologize again.
THE COURT: All right. You can’t discuss matters that you may have talked about with someone else.
THE WITNESS: Okay. Well, then I would have to say no, that I didn’t personally see it.
MR. MCBRIDE: Thank you.
BY MR. MCBRIDE:
Q I didn’t mean to get you in trouble, sorry.
A Pardon me?
Q I didn’t mean to get you in trouble, I’m sorry.
A No, that’s okay.
Q Have you ever seen a financial statement from Church of God?
A No.
MR. MCBRIDE: Your Honor, those are all the questions I have at this time.
THE COURT: All right. Thank you. Will there be any cross-examination of the witness?
MR. CLINE: No, Your Honor. Given the hour, we’re at the end of the day, and I hate to keep her overnight. No cross-examination.
THE COURT: All right. Very well. Any objection to the witness being finally excused?
MR. MCBRIDE: No, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. Thank you. Ms. Garrett, you’re finally excused. Do you have any documents up there that you were given? I don’t think that you did receive any. You can step down at this time, you’re excused. Thank you, ma’am.

Black Hearted Ron and the Four Buckets

Friday, October 12th, 2012

After the government presented its opening statement, it was the turn for the defense.  Robert Webb, Ron’s attorney took the stage.

—–Transcript of Robert Webb’s Opening Statement in Defense of Ronald Weinland ————–

MR. WEBB: May it please this Court. Mr. McBride.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, much of what Mr. McBride has told you is not in dispute. We don’t disagree that purchases were made. We don’t disagree that Mr. Weinland engaged in transactions. But the key question, the only issue in this case is whether Mr. Weinland had criminal intent. Did he have a black heart and a dark mind when he engaged in these transactions? That’s the only issue in this case.

{Did Ronald Weinland have a black heart when he exercised his Witness Powers twice to issue death curses on his mockers?}

Now, you may conclude, ladies and gentlemen, that Mr. Weinland made some mistakes. You may conclude that he should have paid more attention to church finances than he did. You may even conclude that he owes additional taxes. But even if he owes additional taxes, the proof will show that he never deliberately tried to cheat the IRS or anyone else out of their taxes. And that’s the key, because this is a criminal case. A criminal case, not a civil case. The civil case to determine whether or not Mr. Weinland owes additional taxes, that will come later. That will come in a separate proceeding. This is not an audit where the IRS has come in with a calculator and a pencil and a pad and said let’s calculate how much you owe.

That’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about a criminal investigation where the government is trying to brand Mr. Weinland a criminal, a felon, and trying to punish him as a criminal. That’s what we’re talking about. So they have to prove that Mr. Weinland had a black heart and an evil mind beyond a reasonable doubt. And the evidence will show you that Mr. Weinland did not have an evil mind and did not have a black heart.

{In the end, the jury disagreed.  So Ron does have an evil mind and a black heart in the opinion of 12 jurors who heard all the evidence.}

Now, who is Ron Weinland? Because in order to evaluate Mr. Weinland’s state of mind and what he was thinking, which is the key part of the case, you have to know a little bit about him. So let’s talk a little bit about him. Mr. Weinland has spent his entire adult life in the church, into religion, trying to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s what Mr. Weinland has devoted his adult life to do.

He was born in 1949 on a farm in Kansas where he grew up. {Actually, Ron was born in Colorado. But did grow up on a farm in western Kansas.} He attended Ambassador College where he obtained a degree in theology, studying the gospel of Jesus Christ. He met his wife Laura Weinland. And Laura Weinland has been a devoted wife to Mr. Weinland throughout his life; his partner.

When Mr. Weinland was 20 years old, he was baptized into the Worldwide Church of God. Now, that’s different than the Church of God – PKG that the prosecutor was referring to. The evidence will show you that the Worldwide Church of God was a worldwide church highly respected {highly respected — really?} that was — that Mr. Weinland worked for as a full-time pastor for 12 years. From 1982 to 1994, Mr. Weinland was a full-time pastor for the Worldwide Church of God. And you know what? He was happy there. He was happy being a pastor for the Worldwide Church of God. He didn’t want to leave the Worldwide Church of God and start his own church. That’s not what happened.

The evidence will show that in 1994 Worldwide Church of God broke apart. It scattered. New leadership came in and changed the doctrines of the church. And the people who truly believed in the original doctrines couldn’t stay in the church, they had to leave. So it broke apart. Mr. Weinland was one of those people who believed in the original Worldwide Church of God beliefs, and the evidence will show that when he started the Church of God – PKG he carried on the original beliefs of the Worldwide Church of God. He followed in their beliefs.

The church grew — the Church of God – PKG grew beyond Mr. Weinland’s prediction from 2003 to 2008. And the prosecutor put a map up that showed you how many church members and how many congregations were worldwide, the Netherlands, Portland, Oregon, all over the United States. The church grew very, very quickly. It grew from just a single congregation or two from Cincinnati — that was in Toledo and Cincinnati to a worldwide church.

And Ron Weinland and Laura Weinland lived every day of their life for the church. {Were they living for the church the 12 days they were on their Total Resolve Cruise?} They lived for the church and that’s borne out by how the church grew. The church didn’t grow worldwide by Mr. Weinland living an affluent lifestyle sitting idly by.  {Ron lives an affluent lifestyle, watching lots of Cable TV and taking vacations.} He was working for the church, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ with his wife, with his kids. That’s what the evidence will show about Ron Weinland.

Now, in voir dire today I asked some questions about beliefs, and this case is not about religious beliefs. And whether you agree with Mr. Weinland’s religious beliefs is not really relevant, but you have to understand what Mr. Weinland’s religious beliefs were to understand what happened here. You have to understand what Mr. Weinland’s beliefs were and what the Church of God – PKG’s beliefs were to put these things in  context, and that’s what we’re going to talk about. The Church of God – PKG — Preparing for the Kingdom of God, that’s what PKG means, the Church of God – Preparing for the Kingdom of God. Preparing for the return or Jesus Christ, that’s what it means. They believe that we are living in an end time, in the last days, that Jesus Christ will return, and before he returns there will be a financial crisis, an upheaval the likes of which the world has never seen. And then Jesus Christ will return and there will be a new world that will be created.

That is their beliefs. And that’s important to keep in mind as we talk through this case, because they believed that when this financial crisis occurred — and we’re talking about the period between 2004 and 2008, they believed that U.S. banks would fail. They believed that the financial system would collapse. They believed that the American dollar would lose its value during this upheaval, in this financial upheaval. That’s what the evidence will show. And that’s a little bit about Ron Weinland’s and the Church of God – Preparing for the Kingdom of God’s beliefs.

So now let’s talk about the charges and I think you’ll see how they connect up to the beliefs. There’s really four buckets of issues. I like to look at this case in four buckets.

The first bucket is assets held for the church, things of value that Mr. Weinland possessed for the benefit of the church.

The second bucket is the reimbursement of expanses. The prosecutor named some of those expenses and we’re going to talk about it.

The third is the house and the down payment that the government will talk about, about whether or not there was an income to Mr. Weinland from a down payment.

And the third — or the fourth, rather, are expenses that the church paid for people who worked in the church, who provided valuable services to the church.

Those are really the four buckets that the proof will show you can put most of this in. Let’s talk about the first  one, assets held for the church.

Now, you may be sitting there asking yourself why would Ron Weinland go to Switzerland and open a Swiss bank account? Why would he transfer money from the United States bank to a Swiss bank? And the answer, the proof will show, is very simple. When you believe that you’re living in the end time, that the U.S. economy and the banks will fail, diversifying assets of the church is being a good steward. But he didn’t just transfer U.S. dollars to the Swiss bank, he actually converted the U.S. dollars into European dollars. Now, that’s important, because the proof will show if the U.S. dollars had gone down in value, the European dollars would have remained and they would have been there to service all of the foreign churches that the prosecutor pointed out to you. Mr. Weinland has a worldwide church, he had to think not only about the United States congregations, he had to think about the European congregations, just as that map reflected.

And the evidence will show, ladies and gentlemen, that Mr. Weinland did not move this money to Switzerland under the cover of darkness. He didn’t do it at night when no one was looking. The evidence will show he did it in broad daylight and he told the members of his congregation that he was going to move money to Switzerland before he moved it. That’s what the evidence will show.

And as the prosecutor pointed out, when Mr. Weinland gives a sermon, particularly I’m focusing on the sermon he gave where he told the members he was moving money to Switzerland, it went to all the members worldwide.  {All members worldwide?  Really?  There was no cassette tape sent out for that sermon as was normal.  The recording put on his website in 2010 was recorded at the other end of a telephone hookup.} So everyone who was listening to Mr. Weinland’s sermon, every member anywhere in the world, was told about it. It wasn’t concealed or hidden. And that money, as it sat there in that account, was for the benefit, the evidence will show you, ladies and gentlemen, was for the benefit of the church. And that’s not income to Mr. Weinland, that’s a church asset, it’s church money.

Now, the prosecutor mentioned some diamonds and precious stones, and there are some diamonds and precious stones purchased here. {But these were not loose diamonds.  Rather this was bling in custom settings for the Silent Witness’ fingers.}But what will happen in the end times, the Church of God – PKG and Ron Weinland believes, is that when the currency becomes valueless, the only way to travel, the only way to get food, the only way to get to your members will be barter. And what’s the best thing to barter? It’s diamonds and gold. And the Weinlands carried this with them when they were traveling far abroad, because they believed, the evidence will show, that time was going to end, that Jesus Christ was returning and this financial upheaval was coming.

And also, when you’re hearing the proof on these diamonds, bear in mind that Mr. Weinland did have an after-tax salary, and ask yourself if the government has proven that some of these diamonds weren’t purchased with his after-tax salary.It’s something we need to watch for.  {So were they assets for the church or not? Did Ron declare enough taxable income to pay for the diamonds and his other expenses? }

Let’s move on to the second bucket, expense reimbursements. This is principally the credit card expenses that the prosecutor talked about where Mr. Weinland would make charges on his personal credit cards and he would be reimbursed by the church. It’s not easy to get a limit on a church credit card. That is one of the reasons, the proof will show, that Mr. Weinland had credit cards in his individual name, it was simply a lot easier to get credit limits than when you ask for a church, apply for a church.

Now, some of the examples on these credit card charges, one big example, I think it’s over a hundred thousand dollars, is Laura Weinland’s airfare and travel. {And travel for Ron’s children and their spouses.} One IRS agent has decided that they’re going to tell the Church of God – PKG who can travel for the church and who can’t. And they’ve decided, the IRS had decided, that Laura Weinland should not be deemed appropriate to represent the Church of God – PKG as a team with her husband.

The evidence will show you that when Mr. Weinland was at the Worldwide Church of God he was taught to travel as a team. He was taught spiritually that the beliefs of the family were important, that the husband and wife were a team. That’s what he learned, that’s what he was taught, that’s what he did. He didn’t believe that that was income to him. And the evidence will show that Laura Weinland was a very strong participant out there among the members in the congregation, counseling with members, saving marriages. That’s what the evidence will show.

But let’s talk about these credit card expenses. Up to 2004, Mr. Weinland actually tracked the personal expenses. The evidence will show that he tracked what was personal. But when you look at the explosive growth of the church, and you remember the map that the prosecutor put up there where the church was all over the world, Mr. Weinland had written books for the church, he wrote these books and he gave away hundreds of thousands of these books free, {PKG members gave their life savings to send the books out free} spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ all around the world. And he didn’t charge the church for writing these books, he donated his time to write these books. {Donated his time?  He was paid a salary.  Members donated their time to edit his books and to send them out.}

He was speaking publicly representing the church to news channels, news stations, television stations, anyone that would listen. {Ron was never on the news.  The only television exposure was an Australian TV magazine-format program where he didn’t come out too well.  His only real media exposure on local talk radio programs. Well, his criminal trial did get some exposure.} Mr. Weinland would go out representing the church. And he was very busy building the Church of God – PKG into the worldwide organization that it is today.

Now, should he have paid closer attention to the finances of the church? You may find that, but that doesn’t make him a criminal. And the evidence will show that from 2004 through 2008, almost all of the period of time we’re talking about, Laura Weinland, his wife, tracked the expenses.

Now, why did she do that? Why did Laura Weinland track the church versus personal expenses? Because Ronald Weinland did what most married couples would do, he asked his wife for assistance, and she provided it. And Ron Weinland relied on her to do that. And the evidence will show that she had a system. It may not have been a perfect system, she doesn’t have any formal training, she’s not a tax CPA, she’s a loyal, devoted wife.

You’ll also see that the IRS agrees that a lot of the money that was transferred from the Church of God’s account for these credit card expenses was for legitimate church expenses. You’re going to see a lot of that, a lot of church expenses. Now, some of these totals that the IRS is going to put up on these charts are going to look very large to you, but the evidence will show that this is a five-year total. So you have to look at it on a year-by-year basis – that’s what a tax case is – to understand what Mr. Weinland was thinking, on a year-by- year-by-year basis. So the numbers look larger than they actually — than Mr. Weinland experienced on a year-by-year basis.

Now, the IRS agent made some mistakes in this case, you’re going to hear that, the proof will show. Laura Weinland made some mistakes in this case. But Ron Weinland relying on Laura Weinland, even if she made mistakes, the evidence will show you is not a crime. In a civil case, that may well be enough, but not in a criminal case.

Now, let’s talk about the house. The government will allege that a portion of the house down payment was income to Ron Weinland, because the Church of God – PKG paid a portion of that down payment. The Church of God – PKG, they don’t have a church building with a steeple, stained glass windows, and a nice organ where people come in every Sunday. They don’t have that traditional style church building where you can have a church office, where you can have elder’s meetings, where you can have ministers in. They just don’t have that.

And Mr. Weinland, when he moved here to Kentucky, he had to make a decision. Do I go out and buy a building for the church, do I try to find commercial space to rent for the church, or do I run the church office and the book processing center, which you’ll hear about, out of the basement of my church — out of the basement of my home? And I believe the evidence will show that Mr. Weinland was being a good steward of church money when he decided that he would use the basement not only for the church office {and more recently to hold church services}, but you’re going to hear testimony that hundreds of thousands of books that Mr. Weinland wrote for the church were given away free, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world and that they had to be packaged, they had to be labeled, they had to be prepared to be mailed, and that basement was a perfect place for that processing. Now, you’re going to hear that — the evidence will show that the book processing became so large that they had to move it out to a specific employee that does it now.  {If the basement was so perfect for book processing, then why did they move the operation out?} That’s how involved the processing of these books would be.

Let’s talk about the last bucket, the expenses that were paid for church workers. It’s very simple. The evidence will show that Ron Weinland believed that it was perfectly appropriate for the Church of God – PKG to pay health insurance, medical bills, provide an automobile for people who worked for the church {Actually 3 automobiles, BMWs.  And not just anybody who worked for the church.  For Ron Weinland, Audra Weinland, and Jeremy Weinland}, and he believed, the evidence will show, that the tax law allowed it.

Now, where did he learn that? Where did he get that idea? Well, there’s only one place. The evidence will show that what he learned about taxes he learned while he was a pastor at the Worldwide Church of God. That’s what the evidence will show. That’s the knowledge that was what was in Mr. Weinland’s head when we started the Church of God – PKG.  And most of the issues that we’ll be talking about this week fall in one of those buckets.

Now, let’s talk about Mr. Weinland’s children, because the evidence will show that this was a family ministry. You have Mr. Weinland preaching, traveling. You have Mrs. Weinland traveling with him, supporting him, tracking the expenses the best she can, and Audra Weinland started out processing books and trying to prepare them for mailing and eventually became the bookkeeper. You have to bear in mind factually that Audra Weinland, I believe, only started in January of ’07 actually being the bookkeeper for the church. So from ’04, ’05, ’06 Ms. Weinland — I mean Audra Weinland I don’t believe was actually working as the bookkeeper.

Now, let’s talk about Jeremy Weinland, Mr. Weinland’s son. He has a knack for computers. He has a knack for building websites and maintaining websites. And you heard the prosecutor say how effectively that the Church of God – PKG used the Internet. And I would submit they were effective. They were effective because of Jeremy Weinland, who designed the websites, who helped keep the websites up. {So Jeremy put up a WordPress template, rather inefficiently actually.  As someone who blogs with one, I say “Big deal!!”} And the evidence will show that Mr. — that Jeremy Weinland helped translate books into foreign languages so they could spread the word of Jesus Christ in other languages.

So Jeremy Weinland and Audra Weinland, were they provided things by the church? The evidence will show yes. Did they provide valuable services back to the church? The evidence will show yes.

Now, Ron Weinland learned what he learned about managing the Church of God – PKG from working at the Worldwide Church of God. He learned about tuition assistance programs, you’re going to hear some about how tuition was paid. You’ll hear evidence, the evidence will show that some tuition was paid. {Yes, the church did pay tuition assistance — for Jeremy Weinland.} But if Mr. Weinland learned it wrong at the Worldwide Church of God, that doesn’t make him a criminal.

Now, let’s go back to 2008. Mr. Weinland and his wife, Laura, were living every day of their life for the church, growing this church into a worldwide ministry. And then in 2008, there’s a knock on the door. It’s the IRS. But it’s not the IRS who has the accountant notepad and the calculator and the ink pens, it’s not an auditor who’s come to help see if you owe additional taxes. No, these are criminal agents. They have badges, they have guns. They’re there to brand Mr. Weinland a felon and punish him as a criminal.

And what did Mr. Weinland do when they showed up? Did he send them on down the road, get off my property? No, he didn’t. He invited them into his home, invited them into his home and answered their questions. And you know what he told them? He told them about the Swiss bank account. Guess where the IRS learned about the Swiss bank account? I believe the evidence will show that Mr. Weinland told them about it. He had already — the evidence will show he had already told his entire worldwide congregation in a sermon, he certainly wasn’t hiding it from the IRS. He answered their questions.  {But just weeks later, he took legal action attempting to suppress summonses the IRS issued to get information on his financial transactions. And later to resist the IRS summons for Audra to testify.  Also, he refused to provide church records.}

Now, let’s talk about the 2008 tax return that was filed late. When Mr. Weinland realized that people with badges and guns from the IRS were after him, he hired a lawyer, and the lawyer told him and the proof will show, now, Ron, don’t file that tax return until you do some more accounting. You need to do some more accounting, you need to try to get it right. And that’s what he did, he tried to do some more accounting. The evidence will show that when you’re dealing with church expenses and trying to figure out what’s income, it’s not cut and tried. The evidence will show that.

So Mr. Weinland was told by his lawyer not to file his 2008 return until he did some more accounting, and he didn’t. He followed the lawyer’s advice. But he didn’t thumb his nose at the IRS, he made sure that I think around $25,000 had been paid into the IRS as a buffer to try to make sure that money was there to cover whatever ended up being due and owing. It was a good-faith payment, it was a  good-faith act, he was relying in good faith on his lawyer. That’s what the evidence will show.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, the government is going to spend a lot of time this week trying to demonstrate that Mr. Weinland owes taxes. And you may conclude that he does owe additional taxes. But this case is about one thing: Did Mr. Weinland have criminal intent, a black heart, and a dark mind when he engaged in these transactions? This is not the civil case, that will come later. And the issue is, I suspect that you’ll hear from the Court, is has the government proven Mr. Weinland guilty of an intentional violation of a known legal duty, did he do it on purpose. Was it deliberate. That is going to be the question. And I believe that the evidence will show that Mr. Weinland never intended to cheat anybody, especially the IRS.

And when we close our case, we’re going to ask you to return a verdict of not guilty for Mr. Weinland and set him free to continue doing his very important work. Thank you.

 

The Government’s Case Against Ronald E. Weinland

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

The transcript of the government’s opening statement in the criminal trial of False Prophet Ronald Weinland is now publicly available.  At the beginning of the trial, the US Attorney outlined the case he planned to present.

I’ve copied the text of his statement below. The only edits I made were to redact a couple of false starts in the middle and to annotate a few comments.  Should anyone doubt the authenticity, the transcripts are available to download (for a possible nominal fee) from the federal courts pacer.gov document system.

I also have transcripts for other portions of Ron’s trial which I plan to post in the coming weeks.  That is when I can fit it in with the life that Ron accuses me of not having.

—– Opening Statement by Robert McBride, Assistant US Attorney —————————

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Like all lawyers, I like to talk, so before I talk about the case itself, I want to make a couple of preliminary comments.

First, it’s my honor to represent the United States in this case, as I know it is Assistant United States Attorney Chris Nasson’s honor to do the same. We are privileged to serve the government in this way and we are not the only ones who are going to end up serving the government in this case and in this trial, perhaps more accurately, because you too are going to have obligations as the Court has already laid out for you.

This case involves a great deal of information and a long period of time, and I’m going to try to give you a fairly succinct capsule of what we believe the government will say. Now, as the Judge said, opening statements are not evidence, but they are important. They’re important because it’s the opportunity for each side to relate to you what they believe the  evidence will show.

We’re here today, ladies and gentlemen, because Ronald Weinland attempted to evade his taxes willfully during the years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. During that period of time, he used his church to fund an affluent lifestyle and he used the instrumentalities of that church to conceal his true income from the Internal Revenue Service and shield himself from further taxation.

There’s a duality here that I think the evidence is going to show you about the nature of the Church of God and Ronald Weinland’s role in it. On one side we have the spiritual nature of the church and the congregation. That’s not what we’re focusing on. What we’re focusing on and what the evidence will speak to is the organizational function, structure, and income sources of the church that are legitimate as they relate to their employee, Ronald Weinland. There’s a duality with regard to Mr. Weinland. He is the spiritual leader of the church, but he is also the business leader of the church. And the church, like any other organization, has a legal component, a structural component, a hierarchy of organization, functions, and area that it covers, which all give the basis for what are ordinary and reasonable expenses.

{Ron often talks about duality as well. Physical and spiritual.  His prophecies are physical until they don’t happen and then they’re spiritual.  Such as my speedy death resulting from his December, 2008 curse.}

Now, why is it important to know what those expenses are? Because the only source of income that Ronald Weinland has comes from the church and has so for quite some time. So I want to talk to you about the nature and organization of the church. So let me start with the legal organization. The Church of God – Preparing for the Kingdom of God is a corporation. The Church of God – Preparing for the Kingdom of God, Inc., was incorporated be in the State of Delaware by Mr. Weinland. He did this in about 1999, year 2000, just as he was starting his full ministry here in the Cincinnati area, Northern Kentucky-Cincinnati area.

{Although I have been long aware that Weinland did make a new corporation in 2000, I expected that he continued to operate under the corporation made in 1995 that he took over.}

The church is structured just like any other corporation might be. There is a board of directors and there is a president of the corporation, and that president and board, of course, sets the policies and decides what the corporation will do, how it’s organized and where it goes, et cetera.

The only difference about this corporation and many others is that Mr. Weinland is the only board member and the only officer of the corporation with any legal authority in the corporation. Now, there is an advisory board of directors and they are called evangelists and elders. The evangelists are senior to the elders and the elders are, in terms of hierarchy, senior to the members of the church. So if you go from bottom to top in the organization, again we’re just talking about the corporate structure, members, elders, evangelists. And then evangelists and elders are divided into senior elders and elders — senior evangelists and evangelists. And then you have Mr. Weinland as the only board member.

{More or less the same legal structure that Herbert Armstrong set up after the State of California went after him.  HWA set up a corporation sole, which was an alternate entity for him as a religious figure.}

Now, as far as the operation of the corporation goes,  the elders and the evangelists, who are a part of this board, their role is completely advisory. They had no legal standing to make the corporation do anything. They can’t vote Mr. Weinland off, they can’t vote somebody else on, they can’t change the bylaws, only Mr. Weinland can do that. They have an advisory role, but they also — and this overlaps with their spiritual role. If on the spiritual side of the house we’re talking, the members will go to their elder of their congregation if they need spiritual advice, and if there is something of a greater concern or concern about the region, it might go to the evangelists and then to Mr. Weinland. But that’s on the spiritual side of the house.

On the legal side of the house, they have no authority, only what Mr. Weinland allows them. And interestingly, they can be dismissed from their positions by Mr. Weinland at his discretion. There’s no regulation on that, it’s up to him. And there’s nothing inherently illegal about any of that, but that is the legal structure of the Church of God – Preparing for the Kingdom of God.

{Back in 2000, Weinland disfellowshipped uncooperative board members so he could take over The Church of God, Inc. }

Now, this is not a profit-making corporation, this is a nonprofit organization. It is a nonprofit under 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, perfectly appropriate, and it doesn’t have to pay any taxes. Because it’s a church, the spiritual side of the organization, it also doesn’t have to do any kind of reporting of significance to the IRS. Some nonprofit organizations have to report their expenses, their sources of revenue, and the salaries of their officers or key employees, but a church doesn’t have to do that. And that’s perfectly appropriate. There’s nothing wrong with that.

If I were to draw an organizational chart on the legal side of the house, there would be one box, and that would have one name in it and that’s Ronald Weinland. Let’s talk about how the church operates on a day-to-day basis, because that also informs the issue of what are expenses. So I talked about the members of the congregation. The members of the congregation are in two locations, they’re in the United States and they are in Europe.

This is a chart that Mr. Weinland’s attorney, Mr. Coffman, provided me and it shows the locations of
6 the membership of the church. You’ll see in America the largest dots I assume represent the biggest congregations, Indianapolis, Nashville, Richmond, Atlanta, Toronto, Minneapolis, Salt Lick, San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix. And there are some overseas, Dublin, Scotland, the UK, Australia, several, New Zealand, and then there’s one congregation in the Middle East. So this is a church with many congregations spread across the world, mostly the United States and Europe and then one in the Middle East.

How do these congregations operate on a day-to-day level? Well, each congregation generally has an elder who sort of organizes their Sabbath meeting. The Sabbath for this church is on Saturday, and typically what happens and you’ll hear the testimony of some of the elders of this fact, but typically what happens is the larger congregations rent a hall in a hotel or other place where there are meeting rooms and they rent them every week.

You’ll hear Steve Dalrymple, who is also a contract employee for the church, he is with the Cincinnati congregation. They meet at a hotel room, in a meeting room in the La Quinta Inn in Sharonville every week. In order to secure that room, he puts the cost of that room on his credit card and he gets reimbursed by the church for the cost every month. I think he puts in an invoice to Audra Little. We’ll talk about Audra some more, but so that you know, Audra Little is the adult daughter of Mr. Weinland and she serves as the bookkeeper for the Church of God.

{Steve and Audra are also senior elders in PKG.}

Going back to the congregations, the congregations meet once a month — or once a week on the Sabbath, their services last an hour, hour and a half or so, and that’s the main weekly activity.
What you need to know about other — related other expenses is that at every Sabbath there’s a sermon by Mr. Weinland. There have been a few times when he’s been ill and not able to give a sermon and evangelists will give it. And Mr. Weinland delivers these sermons in one of three ways. He either comes to the congregation and gives the sermon and, of course, he incurs legitimate expenses back because he travels back and forth. If he’s coming to the Cincinnati congregation, maybe his mileage would be a legitimate expense. If he’s going to the congregation in Melbourne to do a lecture, he would have airfare and hotels and parking and luggage and all those things associated, just like any businessman would with the trip for the congregation.

Just think of a salesman and the kind of expenses a salesman would incur on behalf of his or her company when they’re going to do sales calls of long distance — in far and distant locations. The same thing for Mr. Weinland, those were legitimate expenses of the church. But if he isn’t giving a live lecture, he will give a lecture that is broadcast, for lack of a better word, over the Internet. So the church has learned to leverage the Internet to its very effective use, and so Mr. Weinland can be in one location and can be broadcasting over the Internet, I think the technology is Skype or something like that, and another congregation far away can hear him. That’s great. Sometimes Mr. Weinland is in a location where there are so many time differences, time zones to go through, so he’s in Melbourne and they’re listening in San Jose. Obviously, the time difference is such that they’re not going to catch his sermon live, so the church records the sermon and they upload it to their websites and then the distant San Jose congregation will download it and listen when they’re having their Sabbath.

So cost related to the website, costs related to recording the sermons and uploading them to the Internet sites, costs that the local congregations have to have equipment and play those things are all legitimate expenses of the Church of God. It makes perfect sense.

There are also other kinds of meetings that take place. There are holy days in the spring and feasts — a feast in the fall, and members will travel to those events. They happen at different locations around the United States and in Europe, and Mr. Weinland will travel to those. Generally, you’ll hear testimony from members that they will pay for their own travel expenses back and forth. In fact, what they do is they have a second tithe. The second tithe is money that a member keeps back for themselves so they can travel to one of the holy days or feasts. Mr. Weinland’s travel as the minister is often expensed to the church for these meetings. That’s also perfectly appropriate. In addition to feasts and holidays, the elders and the evangelists, remember the advisory board, will occasionally meet, and they’ll meet in locations where Mr. Weinland has to travel to them and the church will incur those expenses too, also perfectly legitimate expenses of the church.

So from the operational point of view, for the congregations, you’ve got a lot of travel involved and a lot of expenses, just like any business would have when they are conducting business, simple common sense expenses. Now, how does the church operate sort of in an administrative level? This is not very different either than small businesses.

Now, I didn’t tell you this, I forgot, I should have told you earlier. The church has no buildings. There’s no church or temple or one building that is a church, the church is the body of the people, it is the people itself.

{Weinland goes off on a rant occasionally where he says the world doesn’t understand this.  Wonder if McBride listened to Ron’s sermon.  Also, I’ve heard that Ron was prosecuted for this reason.  Clearly, from this opening statement, he was not.  This information was given only so the jury would understand the term.}

So where does the church operate out of administratively? It operates out of Mr. Weinland’s home. Mr. Weinland has a home that he paid $381,000 for in Triple Crown in Union, Kentucky. And I think it’s on the bottom floor of that home, they have converted a bedroom into an office. And who works in the office? By and large Audra Little, his adult daughter. What does Audra do? Audra is essentially the bookkeeper and administrator for the church, so she does a lot of coordination and she does bookkeeping. She pays the bills for the church. There are also some other activities — Oh, by the way, office expenses, computers, paper, postage, all those things you would associate with a church — or running an office, those are also ordinary and legitimate expenses of the Church of God. Audra is a paid employee and she is actually a W-2 employee. She is one of two actual W-2 employees of the church, the other being Ron Weinland.

Anybody else who does any kind of work for the church, Mr. Dalrymple, their adult son, Jeremy, who did some computer work in 2008, another fellow who does some computer work, they all get 1099s. A 1099, as many of you may know, is a document you pay a contractor with. You say, here’s what you paid — here’s what we paid you and they can use that as proof of their income from that client to the IRS. And they in fact — the church did in fact in 2008 give Jeremy a 1099 for about $16,000.

{The other fellow would be Greg Chipps, who according to testimony in other legal proceedings was paid the princely sum of $36,000 year.  From which he would have to pay both shares of social security taxes and tithes before being able to spend it on other responsibilities.}

So we’ve got legitimate administrative expenses, we’ve got travel and lodging expenses related to visiting the various congregations, going to the various holy days and feasts, and the travel related to business-type meetings for the elders and evangelists. All reasonable, common sense expenses.

Where things become blurred is in the finances of the church. So let me start with what I believe to be the easiest component, and that is income from the church. We’ve already touched on this a little bit. The church gets its money from members who tithe, and this is a very traditional system by which you’ll hear the — the members will tell you they tithe, and that is generally this: Members tithe, the first tithe is 10 percent of your earned income. Unless you’re retired or disabled or something like that, you pay 10 percent to the church of your income. Then in the second tithing, we talked about that, that’s the money members keep aside. That doesn’t go to the church. But you’ll hear the members talk about their second tithe. And then there used to be many years ago a third tithe, but this church doesn’t do that because they believe that’s already taken care of by the government welfare systems. In addition to tithing, there are offerings; and the offerings are things that members give to the church — I think what you’ll hear them say is when they have additional blessings in their life and they want to contribute to the church. All perfectly appropriate.

And the church on the financial side does something else very appropriate. It keeps pretty darn good records about what people tithe and offer to the church. You’ll hear Audra testify that she keeps those records, and what she does is records somebody’s tithing and then every quarter sends them a statement and every year sends them the annual summary of their statement. And what that statement is used for by the members is so they can take the deduction of their contributions to the church off their tax returns. Perfectly appropriate.

So financially, you’ve got the money coming in, you’ve got the money being recorded, and reported back out to the members for their tax purposes. The Church of God, from 2004 to 2008, had quite a number of accounts. It had checking accounts, banking accounts, and savings accounts. I think it had eleven accounts over this period of time at five different banks.

Generally, the way the church operates – because I think what the evidence will show you is the vast majority of the expenses are related to Mr. Weinland’s travel – is Mr. Weinland or his wife, Laura, would put church expenses on their personal credit cards. Over this period of time we’re talking about, they had seven different credit cards with three or five different institutions. So if Mr. Weinland is going to Melbourne, he’s going to put the travel, the flight, the hotel, the meals, everything that’s a legitimate expense on his American Express or some other card.

He might also put on that American Express an article of clothing or some other item he might buy while he’s there. The — when he comes home, he might put on that American Express dinner out with his wife and so on. So what he’s doing is, and Laura does this too, Mrs. Weinland, is they’re commingling their business expenses and their personal expenses on these credit cards. So when the credit card bills come in to Audra — By the way, I forgot to tell you on the Church of God accounts, there are three signatories, Robert Weinland, Laura Weinland, and Audra Little. When the Church of God — when the bills come in, what Audra does is she pays them, every credit card gets paid off every month.

And here’s what she does: She looks at the amount of the credit card, she’ll testify to this, she takes money from a Church of God account and she puts it into a Weinland account. Ronald and Laura Weinland over this period also have, I think it’s about, ten or 11 personal accounts, checking, savings, money market accounts that they use and put money in. The three signatories to that account — those accounts are Ronald, Laura, and Audra; the same three people. When the credit card bill comes in, the money gets transferred by Audra from a Church of God account into a Weinland account and then it gets paid in full.

You might hear some testimony that then it goes to Laura Weinland and she then determines what were the business expenses, what were the personal expenses, and you’ll see some checks going back into Church of God accounts and you’ll see some checks made out to Laura Weinland going back into a Weinland account, but when it comes out in the wash, there isn’t enough money of legitimate income for the Weinlands to cover the costs of all of the money that we’re talking about.

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. Just on the credit cards alone, the evidence will show you from 2004 to 2008, the Weinlands had over $500,000 of personal expenses paid for by the Church of God. And that’s excluding anything that is arguably a Church of God expense. The evidence will also show you the same thing happens from their accounts.

Personal accounts, you’ll see the checks, they go from the Church of God out to vendors, they’ll come in from the Weinlands from other accounts, the money is all over the place. It’s commingled, that’s what this is called. When you commingle money in various accounts, it’s difficult to keep track of that money unless you go line by line, item by item over a number of years. And that’s exactly what happened in this case. You’ll hear the case agent tell you the manner in which she evaluated those records.

You’re also going to hear something about Swiss accounts. The evidence will show you that Mr. Weinland took Church of God money and put it in a Swiss account. Now, you may hear evidence that he told his congregation he was going to do that, but what the evidence will also show you is that nobody but Ronald Weinland and his wife had access to that money. There was later a power of attorney assigned to it, but that was after Mr. Weinland was interviewed on July 28th, 2008. That money in a foreign account at all times relevant exceeded $10,000, which means Mr. Weinland needed to do two things: When he filed his tax return, he needed to check the box on the Schedule B that says I have a foreign bank account, I’m a U.S. citizen, and that’s part of the law; and, two, he had to file what’s called a Report of Foreign Account, FBAR for short. I’m not sure why it’s FBAR, it doesn’t really make sense, but I’m going to try to call it that for short, the FBAR. The FBAR is kind of like your tax return and then it’s something that you fill out, it’s a form you fill out, and you send it to the Treasury. And the people that now keep those records are the financial center, FinCEN, it’s a Department of — Department of Treasury and it records those documents to hold them. And you’ll see that for 2004, ’05, ’06, and ’07, Mr. Weinland did not have FBARs. The custodian of records will come in and testify to that. In 2008 he did file an FBAR, he filed it on June 25th, 2009, five days within the deadline. But, again, this is after the investigation had started.

What are the things that Mr. Weinland spends money on other than the legitimate church expenses? And this is what the evidence will show, I’m just going to tick down this list.

  • Dining out for himself or Laura Weinland;
  • expensive clothing for himself and his wife;
  • Mrs. Weinland’s travel with him everywhere he went;
  • his mortgage and utilities;
  • his adult daughter, Audra’s, mortgage and utilities;
  • health and auto insurance for himself;
  • health and auto insurance for Audra;
  • a security system for his home;
  • and a security system for Audra’s condo.
  • He bought jewelry for Laura and Audra,
  • and we believe he bought his son’s wife’s engagement ring.
  • Also, he bought automobiles. He bought an automobile for himself,
  • and he bought an automobile for Audra,
  • and he bought an automobile for Jeremy, which he eventually shipped over to Germany, because that’s where Jeremy lives.
  • And in addition to all the world traveling he did, he also took vacations during those period of times, including a trip to Germany to celebrate Audra’s wedding and a cruise to Alaska.

All these things and more are paid for ultimately by church funds. Now, that in and of itself, while it’s not really good business practice, is not inherently illegal. The crime here is willfully evading your income tax. So let me talk about that briefly.

{Like I’ve often said: Ron could have put every penny of tithe into his pocket, and so long as he’d paid his taxes, the government would have left him alone.}

As the Judge has told you, we have the burden of proof and we have to meet the elements of the offense for the crime. And I know this is the legal part, please bear with me. The good news is for each of the five counts, the elements are the same. So if you — so the proof for each of the five years will be very much the same, just in different years. But the elements are this: A substantial amount of tax was due and owing in addition to what the defendant declared on his returns. Let me talk about that one and what the evidence will show on that count.

For 2004, ’05, ’06, and ’07, you’ll see Mr. Weinland filed — timely filed returns, and they will show that he either paid little or no tax or got a refund based on the income he reported.

The evidence will also show that for 2004, once you take a look at the expenses that were really income to him, he owed $8,000 in tax; in 2005, he owed $33,000 approximately in tax; in 2006, he owed approximately $26,000 in tax; in 2007, $106,000 approximately; and in 2008, $71,000. We submit that is substantial tax due and owing for each of those years. And we won’t now get into the details of that evaluation, you will be able to determine that through the testimony that you hear.

The Count Five in 2008 charges Mr. Weinland with failing to file a tax return. Mr. Weinland did ultimately file a tax return but not within the time allowed by the law. As I mentioned, he was interviewed on July 2nd of 2008. He filed an extension which gave him legally until October of 2009 to get that 2008 return filed. He filed that return in 2010, in October, I believe, late September or early October. You’ll see the return, you’ll know the date. So that was not filed within the time limits prescribed by law; in other words, he failed to file his return. That return, interestingly, shows not only his W-2 income of 52,5, but also $164,000 of reimbursed expenses paid for by the church.
Later, a year later, he filed another return, an amended return, which I don’t believe has been processed by the IRS, saying, oh, well, that was really not accurate. And you’ll see that return too, we’ll show it to you. He did pay some taxes in 2008 when he filed that late return, but there was still $71,000 due and owing above and beyond what he declared. That’s 2008 for Count One.

The second element is that he made an affirmative attempt in any manner to evade or defeat his income taxes. Any manner, any legal action he took with the attempt to evade meets the element of this offense. And we allege the same things for all five counts: One, that he filed false returns, you will see his 2004, ’05, ’06, and ’07 returns that say income 32,5, and then you will see the W-2 that he issued to himself for 32,5 attached to the return. The evidence will show you that that return, that amount was false. So filing a false return. 2008, the evidence will also show you that the late filed return was false, it also understated the reimbursed income. So it too, although not charged that way, is a false return.

The second thing he did is he didn’t file — he didn’t mark on his tax returns that he had a foreign account; 2004, ’05, ’06, and ’07, you will see the return hopefully today, you will see that there is no block marked on Schedule B for a foreign — for a foreign bank account, despite the fact that he told his congregation that he had transferred that money there. Then you’ll find for 2004, ’05, ’06, and ’07 no FBAR. We’ll show you the FBAR he ultimately filed in 2008 and he also marked on his 2008 return that he had a foreign account. That he acted willfully is the last count — or the last element of the offense. What does willfully mean? Well, the Judge will tell you what it means, but what it means is acting in knowing violation of the law. So this is the intent element of the offense. And here, we will present to you evidence that based on the facts and circumstances will show he had the intent to evade.

Let’s look at some of the things that he did. While Mr. Weinland was not a tax expert, he was no tax neophyte either. He had obtained the 501(c) status for the church. He had managed to fill out the forms officially for the IRS that he was exempt from certain withholdings that ministers are properly exempt from. He took a parsonage allowance on all his tax returns, perfectly appropriate, as well as some of the deductions that he took. He took that parsonage allowance every year. He took the itemized deductions every year. He issued himself W-2 forms, he issued his daughter W-2 forms, he issued the few contractors for the church 1099 forms. And then you’ll hear the members tell you that Ronald Weinland preached you should pay your taxes.

You’re going to hear a lot of testimony from different individuals. We’re going to present to you the testimony of members and elders and contractors and Audra Little. Then we’re going to present to you a custodian of records that show tax returns and various other expenses that the church ended up paying for that are personal expenses of Ronald Weinland. Then you’ll hear the case agent’s process through which she analyzed the huge volume of documents that you will see of the multiple bank accounts and credit card accounts. And then finally, we’ll close the case with a gentleman from the Revenue Service to talk about the tax due and owing.

And then the case will go to you. And then your job kicks in. And, frankly, it’s not going to be an easy job. You’re going to need to evaluate a huge volume of evidence, you’re going to have to listen to the countering arguments of the lawyers and the testimony of the people, and then you’re going to have to render a verdict. I’m confident that when you have heard all the evidence from both sides you will come to conclude that the United States has met its burden of proof and then I will come back and ask you for a guilty verdict against Mr. Weinland on all counts.

God Places His Name in Ron’s Basement

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

As previously reported, Judge Reeves issued an order on Monday delaying the sentencing of False Prophet Ronald Weinland to October 29.  This morning, Ann shared a copy of the email Ron sent out following this development.  Thank you, Ann,

From: “Ron Weinland”
To
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2012 8:34:20 PM
Subject: Some good news

Hello to everyone,

This afternoon I received a call informing me that the sentencing had to be moved forward to October 29th from September 24th. The reason for the extension is that there is such a large volume of documentation and financial information that must be analyzed before recommendations can be made within the court system.

This of course has come as good news since if fully relieves us of all stress concerning how to plan for the upcoming Feast. Laura was still a little uncertain how to plan since nothing was definite concerning what would happen to me. Now we will be able to observe the Feast right here just as we do the weekly Sabbath. We will likely have a few come here from the Lexington site each day I am speaking so that there will be an audience. It will be handled on a rotational basis like the Cincinnati congregation that is divided into smaller groups for each Sabbath service held here.

The Lexington site is about at an hour away from our home, so this will work our fairly well for everyone who will be driving here. There is still some planning that has to be done to make this work well, but it is welcomed planning.

All Feast sermons are still being prerecorded and will be posted so that everyone can download them well in advance of the holy days. The reason we are still going to do this is because we simply do not know when things in this world are going to break loose and thereby restrict or prevent travel.

Today I finished the fifth sermon and tomorrow I plan on prerecording it. After that there are two to go. Please continue to pray about these sermons and for those that the evangelists are working on and then later prerecording.

You are welcome to share this good news with others, but it may make it completely around before I actually get this email posted. News does have a way of traveling quite fast in the Church. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers. This was all quite unexpected to say the least, and it is awesomely exciting to see how God works things out.

Our love to all of you,
Ron & Laura

Hopefully that large volume of financial data will result in a nice long vacation for Ron in Club Fed.

 

A New Feast Site in Kentucky?

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Linda P left a comment about a change in the criminal case of Ronald E. Weinland.  Judge Reeves issued an order today which reads:

The Court having been advised that additional time is needed for preparation of the Presentence Investigation Report in this matter, it is hereby ORDERED that the sentencing hearing previously scheduled for September 24, 2012, is CONTINUED until October 29, 2012, beginning at the hour of 2:00 p.m., at the United States Courthouse in Covington, Kentucky.
This 20th day of August, 2012 /s/ Danny C. Reeves, United States District Judge

Per the judge’s order issued on the day that Ron was convicted of 5 counts of criminal tax evasion, the presentence investigation report was due with copies to be provided to the parties.  I hope the delay is due to the probation office finding additional facts requiring further investigation which will lead to an extension of Ron’s vacation at Club Fed.

So Ron will be able to deliver his feast sermons “live” from the basement of his mansion on the golf course instead of pre-recorded as per current plans.  Or if he sets up a feast site within the boundaries of the federal court’s eastern district of Kentucky and convinces the probation office that it really is a religious observance, then he’ll be able to speak before a few people there.   On the other hand, if the wrath of God during his 357-day-long day is released on the unrepentant Earth before then, won’t happen either way.

One Purpose Only

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

On various occasions, False Prophet Ronald Weinland has explained the bling on Laura’s fingers.  Here is his statement on October 24, 2009:

Laura and I do something else a little unique because of our traveling.  We’ve had and do carry with us certain jewelry, of which some of the church has purchased portions and we have others as well ourselves.  That we are using for one purpose only.  And that’s bartering.   Wherever we might be, at some point in time — I don’t care where it is, that we be prepared for whatever takes place.  The ability to barter — transportation, or whatever thing else we need to do to get from one place to another to do something else that might need to be accomplished.

Laura’s jewelry was discussed during Ron’s criminal trial.  Here is the summary of that testimony summarized by one of the jurors on the trial:

Jewelry, jewelry, who’s got the jewelry?
As part of the testimony, we heard from an employee of Jared Jewelers who handled much of the Weinland’s jewelry purchases and repairs.
We saw receipts and statements for jewelry purchases and payments, spanning 2007 to 2009. There were several quite expensive rings, totaling a couple hundred thousand dollars, if not more. It seemed that Laura had quite a taste for diamonds and opals. The defense for these purchases, of course, was that they were a safety net to be used to barter when the end came, and when money was worthless. They would take this jewelry with them when they traveled the world, in case they suddenly found themselves in a place that didn’t take American Express. They claimed that this was the church’s jewelry, not Laura’s. It just happened to be sized to fit Laura’s fingers, and custom designed to fit Laura’s taste.
As is the practice with this jeweler, customers with good taste do not generally buy something “off the rack.” The stones are selected first, and then the setting/ring is selected and purchased, and then the two are combined into one piece of custom jewelry. As we were given descriptions of each piece, the prosecution asked the witness from Jared if it would have been more economical to just purchase the each of the stones without having them made into elaborate rings, and of course the answer was yes.
The point that the prosecution was making was that if the sole purpose of these jewels was for bartering in an emergency, they wouldn’t have gone to all the trouble of having them made into custom-designed jewelry for Laura. The actual role that these pieces were serving (in REALITY, not in the fantasy of post-apocalyptic trading that may happen someday) was to feed Laura’s vanity and to give her something shiny to wear on each of her fingers.
Not all of the pieces of jewelry were designed and purchased by the Weinlands at Jared, yet Jared had a record and an appraisal for each of the pieces, including the ones purchased in Australia. Jared had these records because earlier THIS year, April or May of 2012, Laura had all of her jewelry taken to Jared for the purpose of cleaning and repairs. Each piece was photographed, evaluated, appraised and recorded for insurance purposes, and to make sure that there could be no confusion as to the description of each one-of-a-kind ring. It was noted by the witness that Laura, Ron and Audra were all present when the rings were being dropped off at Jared and the instructions given to the jewelers as to what repairs should be done to each. Mysteriously, many of the rings were being resized. The prosecution did not ask WHY they were being resized, but the answer was hinted at with the next pieces of evidence…
For each of the pieces dropped off for repair, a receipt was signed when they were picked up again by the customer. However, it was not Ron who picked up this jewelry, nor was it Laura. It was Audra who picked up and took possession of all of the expensive rings, containing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of diamonds, opals and gold, just a few weeks before Ron’s trial was set to begin. Were these rings being resized for Audra’s fingers? Did Audra give the rings back to Laura or was the intent for her to keep them? Was Laura trying to shift ownership of some of their personal wealth in case the trial did not go as planned, and the government decided to seize their assets?
Unfortunately, these questions were not answered in the trial. So the burning question still remains- “Who’s got the jewelry?”
 I have a feeling that the answer to that burning question will soon be: “The IRS”.
Yet PKGers prefer to believe the nonsense put out by Weinland’s spin machine.  Such as arguing that Ron was convicted of 5 counts of criminal tax evasion because his church doesn’t own a building.  Or expressed in comments such as “I’ve previously talked to Laura about a bit of the history of it… personally I’m not surprised it turned out this way – it is man’s system after all… We know what the money was used for and I don’t have a problem with it…. ”  and “it had to do in part about the money they had over in Switzerland then brought back to use on the Google advertising, etc.. issue was whether they had to pay taxes on it because it was for church use”.  It turns out that the IRS started the investigation, not because of the Swiss bank accounts, but rather because of his profligate spending.
And this comment by a member: “I know in my mind this is God’s church, and I know Ron well enough that he wouldn’t swindle it for his own personal gain.”  Twelve jurors obviously thought differently about that.  Perhaps you will come to understand that as well.
In related news, the horse did not learn to speak.   Judge Reeves has ruled on the motion Ronnie’s high-priced legal team filed for acquittal, and it didn’t turn out in his favor.  The government had a powerful response to the defense motion.  The judge’s ruling concluded:
At the conclusion of its case-in-chief, counsel for the United States outlined and summarized a great deal of the evidence it had presented. Without repeating this summary, the Court noted then – and notes now – that the evidence presented was more than sufficient to overcome a motion for judgment of acquittal. Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that the defendant’s motion under Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(c) to set aside the verdict and enter a judgment of acquittal is DENIED.

The Horse Still Isn’t Talking

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Last week I posted a copy of the pathetic motion Ron’s expensive defense team filed asking that the guilty verdicts be set aside.  The government has responded, with the US attorneys filing this response.

——————-  Government’s Response to Weinland’s motion to acquit ———

Comes now the United States of America, by and through counsel, and responds to the Defendant’s Motion to Set Aside the Verdict and Enter a Judgment of Acquittal. See R. 91: Defendant’s Motion to Set Aside the Verdict and Enter a Judgment of Acquittal. The Court should deny the Defendant’s motion because it ignores eight days of trial testimony and evidence, and because it falls far short of the standard for Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(c)(1) motions the U.S. Supreme Court set forth in Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (1979).

When reviewing a Rule 29 motion, a court must consider “whether the record evidence could reasonably support a finding of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” Jackson, 443 U.S. at 319. This inquiry “does not require a court to ask itself whether it believes that the evidence at trial established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” Id. (emphasis in original) (citing Woodby v. INS, 385 U.S. 276, 282 (1966)). Instead, a court must determine “whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.” Id (emphasis in original); see also Johnson v. Louisiana, 406 U.S. 356, 362 (1972); United States v. Jones, 102 F.3d 804, 807 (6th Cir. 1996). On review, a court “may conclude a conviction is supported by sufficient evidence even though the circumstantial evidence does not remove ‘every reasonable hypothesis except that of guilt.’” Jones, 102 F.3d 807 (quoting United States v. Stone, 748 F.2d 361, 363 (6th Cir. 1994)).

The Defendant’s motion should be denied because the United States presented sufficient evidence to satisfy the Rule 29 standard set forth above for Counts 1 through 5 of the indictment, which charge the Defendant with attempting to evade or defeat a tax for the calendar years 2004 through 2008, all in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201. The Court instructed the jury that the elements for the offenses charged are:

(1) First, an income tax was due and owing from the Defendant in addition to that declared on his income tax return;

(2) Second, the Defendant made an affirmative attempt, in any manner, to evade or defeat this income tax; and

(3) Third, the Defendant acted willfully in attempting to evade and defeat the tax.

The evidence the United States presented, which must be viewed in the light most favorable to the government, Jackson, 443 U.S. at 319, is overwhelming, and includes, but is not limited to, the following.

With respect to the first element, that an income tax was due and owing from the Defendant in addition to that declared on his income tax return, the United States introduced the Defendant’s tax returns for the years 2004 through 2008 into evidence. The Defendant’s tax returns for 2004 through 2007 showed that he paid little or no tax for each year; the Defendant’s 2008 tax return showed that he paid insufficient tax. The United States also introduced analyses showing the Defendant’s unreported income for each of the years at issue. The United States offered the testimony of Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) Agent Kenton Pillow, who described the evaluation he performed which showed a tax due and owing for the years 2004 through 2008. The United States also introduced into evidence the Defendant’s 2008 tax return, completed by a Certified Public Accountant after the Defendant became aware that the IRS was investigating him, which showed the Defendant’s taxable income for personal expenses for which his church paid.

With respect to the second element, that the Defendant made an affirmative attempt, in any manner, to evade or defeat this income tax, the United States introduced evidence that the Defendant filed tax returns in which he falsely reported his income for the years 2004 through 2008. The United States also introduced evidence the Defendant’s failure to report on his tax returns both personal expenses paid for by the church and a foreign bank account. In addition, the United States proved that the Defendant failed to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts for the years 2004 through 2007, comingled church and personal bank accounts, and comingled church and personal expenses on his numerous credit cards. The United States introduced evidence that the Defendant created a corporate entity in which only he would have access to the entity’s financial statements, exploited the church’s 501(c) status by failing to file wage information with the IRS, placed church money in a personal Swiss bank account for personal use, funded the lavish lifestyles of his wife and children with church funds, and completed IRS Forms W-2 for himself and his daughter and Forms 1099 for church employees without consulting the church’s bookkeeper.

With respect to the third element, that the Defendant acted willfully in attempting to evade and defeat the tax, the United States offered both testimonial and documentary evidence that demonstrated the Defendant knew of his tax reporting obligations and acted to defeat them. This evidence included testimony from church members that the Defendant instructed them to pay their taxes and that the church issued quarterly receipts to members documenting their donations which were to be used to take deductions on their taxes. The United States demonstrated that the Defendant regularly completed and filed Forms W-2 and 1099, created a 501(c) organization, and took the parsonage allowance each year on his own taxes. The United States proved that the Defendant comingled money from church and personal accounts with church and personal expenses in an effort to conceal his true income. The United States further proved that the Defendant attempted to conceal his true income by misstating it on a BMW credit application. The United States also proved that the Defendant controlled the church’s operations, expenses, and expense reimbursement, and used church funds for the benefit of himself and his family.

For these reasons, the Court should deny the Defendant’s Motion to Set Aside the Verdict and Enter a Judgment of Acquittal.

Respectfully submitted,
KERRY B. HARVEY
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
By: s/ Christopher L. Nasson
Assistant United States Attorney

—————— end of government’s response to acquittal motion ————————-

Here the government has cited overwhelming evidence of Weinland’s guilt.  One item that is conspicuously absent is any mention of Weinland’s religion or any indication that his church does not own buildings.  Many PKG members have bought the story that Weinland was convicted because PKG does not own any church buildings.  That’s not it at all.  Weinland was convicted for failing to pay taxes on the money he looted from tithes and substantial offerings for Godly purposes such as putting diamond rings on Laura’s fingers and BMW wheels beneath himself and his family members.  Since I’ve heard this argument from more than one PKG member, I have to think that this is something that Ron is selling.

The exchange of the motion by the defense to acquit and the government’s response is a type of the way Weinland deals with people.  Weinland expects people to believe him just because he said so, and his critics respond with specific evidence.

Note: since I have something else going on this weekend, my sermon summary posting may be delayed.  But this gives you something to chew on in the meantime 😉

A Little Testimony

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Descriptions of the trial are continuing from Juror #215.  Here is his description of the testimony of one of the prosecution’s star witnesses, a senior elder in “God’s church”.

———————————  From Juror #215 ————————————-
——- Audra Weinland Little – The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree ———-

By far, the prosecution witness who spent the most time on the stand was Audra (Weinland) Little. She took the stand immediately following the lunch break on Thursday, and the prosecution questioned her until we ended for the day on Thursday, and then picked up again where they left off on Friday morning. By the time that the defense finished their cross-examination and the prosecution completed their redirect questioning, it was noon on Friday. She sat on the witness stand for approximately 6 hours total. {For those who might not be aware, Audra is Ron’s daughter and the church bookkeeper.  In November of 2009, the government had to make a federal case of it to compel her to answer questions about church finances.  Audra was also ordained a senior elder early in 2010. Mike(DDTFA)}

Her testimony began much the same way as the other church members and elders, with an overview of the church structure and tithe systems, and a discussion of saving their second tithe to travel on holy days.

They talked about when she became involved as the bookkeeper for the church in 2007, and moved to the northern Kentucky area to be closer to her parents and to work out of the church “office” in the Weinland’s basement. To actually call her a bookkeeper is a bit of an overstatement.  In listening to her description of her job, her duties involved depositing checks and writing checks, but that was about it. Her daily duties involved:
– Driving to the main post office in Cincinnati to the church’s PO box to get the mail, which mainly consisted of tithes sent in by the members
– Filling out deposit slips for the church accounts and taking the tithe checks to the bank
– Recording the amount of each member’s tithes so that a summary of annual tithes could be sent to each member each year.
– Writing reimbursement checks to any elders who had incurred church expenses
– Transferring money from the church accounts to the Weinland personal accounts to pay the credit cards
– Paying the credit card bills monthly to bring the balance of each down to $0 each month
– In 2008, when there were regular charges being made to the cards by Google for the advertising, she would also monitor the card balances regularly mid-month, and would make extra card payments to keep the balances under their credit limits.

She testified that when she first moved to the Cincinnati area, that she already owned her own car at that time, but that shortly after her father purchased her a new BMW due to the fact that her job required so much driving back and forth to the post office and to the bank.

The church had, during the time in question, about 10 bank accounts at 6 different banks. There were three persons authorized to access those accounts:
– Ronald Weinland
– Laura Weinland
– Audra Weinland

The Weinlands, during the time in question, had about 8 domestic bank accounts at 5 different banks. Again, there were three persons authorized to access those accounts:
– Ronald Weinland
– Laura Weinland
– Audra Weinland

The Weinlands had about 6 credit card accounts from 4 different credit card companies, each account with a $50,000 credit limit. In some cases, for a single account, there were separate cards for both Ron and Laura.

Audra’s testimony is where the accounting process to pay the bills was revealed. The bills for the card would come in, or Audra would check the balance online. Audra would transfer the full amount of the bill from a church account into a Weinland account, and then would pay off the card from a Weinland account. This was the process that was established by her mother prior to Audra’s employment by the church, so she just went along with it. Audra made no attempts to audit the credit card statements for the nature of the expenses, she just kept paying them off monthly.

The prosecution was showing checks written and electronic debit records from the Weinland accounts as well as large transfers from the church to the personal accounts, and attempted to ask Audra what each of these were for. Audra stated that without seeing the coordinating credit card statements from the same time periods, there would be no way for her to remember. Well Audra, since you asked…

The prosecution began showing the credit card statements to the court. This was really the first time, other than the handful of receipts that were shown during Steve Dalrymple’s testimony, that we got a really good look at how the money was being spent each month. We saw dozens upon dozens of credit card statements, with a wide variety of charges. I’ve already discussed in prior posts what kinds of things were being purchased, so I won’t rehash that again now, but this was the big courtroom moment when it was all being drug from the shadows and subjected to the light of truth. Audra insisted that checking the validity of each of the charges was not her job. Her job was just to keep the bills paid and keep the balance of the cards down each month so that they could keep traveling around the world for the church.

Audra also handled paying all of her parent’s household bills out of the Weinland accounts for the regular monthly utilities, cable, phone, etc. Since Laura also had access to both the church and personal accounts, it was not uncommon for Laura to transfer funds from church to personal accounts as well. We looked at many checks written by Audra out of the Weinland’s “main” checking account, which logically appeared to be the payments for these utilities each month.

Then, the prosecution began showing canceled checks from one of the Weinland’s secondary accounts, which were also written by Audra. These appeared to be checks paid to all of the same utilities, cable, phone, sanitation, etc. as the previous set of checks from the main account, but in different, smaller amounts. The prosecution asked Audra whose utilities these checks were paying, and she claimed to not remember. They asked her if, in fact, these were HER utilities that she was paying out of one of her parents’ accounts each month, and she claimed to not remember. We looked at check after check; dozens if not hundreds of checks, all written by Audra from this secondary checking account, all paying monthly utility bills. At one point, Audra was visibly wearing down from the repeated questioning. Each time that the prosecution showed a check and asked if this check was paying one of her bills, she at first claimed to not remember, but this reached a tipping point where it was obvious that she just couldn’t continue to lie anymore. When the prosecution asked if the next check was paying her phone bill, the answer was, “yes.” When asked if the next check was paying her electric, the answer was, “yes.” Deposits into this account were made by Laura. Ron later testified when asked about this secondary account that this account was opened specifically for the handling of all of Audra’s living expenses.

There were a great many things revealed during Audra’s testimony, including the fact that checks were written paying Jeremy’s tuition, but not that this was considered a “scholarship.” That scholarship information did not come out until Ron’s testimony.

On the one hand, the 6 hours of Audra’s testimony was very dry and businesslike. We looked at hundreds of pages of financial documents, statements, bills, and canceled checks. On the other hand, it was clear that each of the pieces was another nail in the coffin to prove that the Weinlands were getting more money funneled into their checking accounts to pay their own family expenses than they had reported on their 1040s that were seen on the first day of the trial. All of the evidence was there, presented during Audra’s testimony that just needed to be assembled into the big picture. The very next witness to take the stand, of course, was the IRS Special Agent who had spent countless hours putting the jumbled mess of corruption together into that big picture, which was really the final nail in the coffin, so to speak.

———-  End of Juror #215’s description of A Little testimony ——————

Juror #215, thank you for this description.  I don’t understand why the government has not indicted Audra and Laura as co-conspirators along with Ron.