And the Horse Might Learn to Talk

The attorneys for False Prophet and Convicted Felon Ronald Weinland are earning their high fees by filing yet another motion yesterday, one to set aside the verdict and replace with a judgment for acquittal. The motion filed reminds the judge:

A jury trial began on June 4, 2012. The Defendant made an oral Rule 29 motion for all five counts after the government presented its case-in-chief and after the close of all of the evidence in the case. The Court denied both of the Defendant’s oral motions. The jury began its deliberation on June 13, 2012 and found the Defendant guilty on all five counts. The Defendant files this motion for a judgment of acquittal, pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(c)(1), as to the guilty verdict on all five counts of the indictment.

Under Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(c)(1), a “defendant may move for a judgment of acquittalwithin 14 days after a guilty verdict….” Where the “jury has returned a guilty verdict, the court may set aside the verdict and enter an acquittal.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(c)(2). A defendant is entitled to a judgment of acquittal if the evidence presented at trial is insufficient to support his conviction. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(a)(1).

Yesterday was the 14th day following Weinland’s conviction.  The motion concludes with.

As stated above, Counts I through V of the indictment allege that the Defendant willfully attempted to evade and defeat the payment of a large part his income tax due and owing for the calendar years 2004 through 2008, all in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201, “by filing a false income tax return, by underreporting his income, and using COG contributions for personal use and not reporting the funds as income on his tax return, by failing to file a Report of Foreign Bank regarding an account in Switzerland, by failing to report the existence of that foreign account on the Schedule B of his income tax returns, and by failing to report any of the interest made on the foreign account as income….”

The Court instructed the jury that the elements of the offenses charged were as follows:
(1) First, an income tax was due and owing from the Defendant in addition to that declared in 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.

Even viewing the evidence in this matter in the light most favorable to the government, the government failed to provide sufficient evidence for any rational trier of fact to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt on each of the essential elements for each of the offenses alleged in the indictment. First, for each count of the indictment, the government failed to prove that the Defendant had an income tax due and owing in addition to what he declared on his income tax return. Second, for each count of the indictment, the government failed to prove that the Defendant made any affirmative attempt to evade or defeat any additional income. Finally, for each count of the indictment, the government failed to prove that the Defendant acted willfully in attempting to evade or defeat any tax.
As a result, the government failed to present sufficient evidence as to each element of each offense alleged in the indictment for a jury to find the Defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the Court must set aside the guilty verdict as to all five counts in the indictment and enter a judgment of acquittal.

So Ron’s high-priced attorneys paid for by the church expect the judge to believe that 12 irrational people made it past voir dire onto the jury and without any evidence convicted him of 5 counts of criminal tax evasion.  Personally, I’ve found the two jurors who’ve commented here to be quite rational.  Only took them 8 days to see him for what he is.  The motion gave no explanation as to how the evidence is lacking, expecting the judge to buy that just because they said so.  Ron must be rubbing off on them.  While that approach works for Ron on this deluded followers, the judge is not in that category.  The filing of this motion reminds me of a story.

A man was sentenced to die by the king.  He pleaded for his life and offered to teach his horse to talk.  The king agreed to give him two years to do that.

A friend of the condemned man asked him “What are you thinking?”  The condemned replied “Anything can happen in two years.  The king might die.  I might die. And the horse might learn to talk.”

Porch-Mouthed Ron

We have some more details from the trial from Juror #215.  I have a few comments below in {italics}.

—————-  Juror #215’s Trial Report —————————————–
Members Testify – Dalrymple Gets a Dose of Reality

As mentioned earlier, the prosecution called several members (and one ex-member) of PKG to the witness stand.  For the most part, these witnesses were treated with kid gloves by the prosecution, and were mainly used to establish facts for the jury about the history of the church, and its current structure (most of which you already know, but it was new to the jury).

(When I talk about “United” I am referring to the local Toledo/Detroit congregation that Weinland took over.  We did not discuss any other United Church of God congregations except for that one.) {Nor does it refer to the United Church of God AIA, the parent organization from which Ron disassociated in 1997}

Through prosecution questions established-
– Why the apostasy in WCG happened.  It was repeatedly stated that the WCG changed their theology overnight, and turned their world upside down.  Many were left lost and searching in the years following this event.
– Ron Weinland’s involvement in the formation of the United Church of God.
– The governance of United, and the fact that this church had a Board of Directors to oversee church legal and financial matters.
– The fact that under United, the Board published financial reports quarterly and annually for the members’ review.
– Ron Weinland’s dissatisfaction with the Board of Directors at United, and that having this board was a violation of his theology.  {As discussed on my Blogspot location}
– The re-formation of the church under new by-laws as PKG. {As discussed in another posting at this location on this blog location, and more details below}
As part of their testimony, the members were each asked to describe the tithe system, and the reasons that there was no longer a third tithe.  They also were each asked if they had ever seen a financial report in the years after PKG was formed, and the answer was always “no.”  They were asked who had complete control over the church, in both the spiritual and legal sense, and the answer was always “Mr Weinland.”  They all did establish that they received a detailed record of their tithes back each year, so that they could accurately report their charitable contributions on their tax returns.

They established that there should be only one “true” governance of the church:
God > Jesus > Ron Weinland > Elders > Members
The words coming from Mr Weinland were stated to be the direct words of Jesus himself.  Also, Elders did not, and should not concern themselves with the manner in which Mr Weinland was running the church and the finances; it was the job of the Elders to help minister to the members, performing anointings and counseling them.

We heard variations on the same theme from all members who testified:
– Joyce Garrett established that she had moved (from Connecticut?) to be closer to Mr Weinland, and that he helped her find a house on his same street.
– Terry Wrozek gave the same, and additionally provided a little background on the history of United in the Detroit/Toledo area.
– April Combs gave us more of the same.
– Same from Eileen {ex-member}; we reviewed her annual tithe statements.
– More of the same from Thomas Volle and Ralph Dowd, although one of these two (my memory escapes me on which one) was using the facilities at his body shop business to handle the shipping of the books for a time.  {Probably Tom Volle.  His father Al, a PKG elder, owned such a business at which Tom worked until a couple of years ago, lost perhaps due to the recession but quite possibly due to some “pitcher-breaking”}.
– Donna Kautz testified that she was going through financial difficulties at the time that she moved to the Cincinnati area (from Minnesota or Wisconsin?) and that the church, through Laura had helped her out with a $3000 loan, which she repaid.

At times, members were asked whether they had seen or been in the Weinland home, and whether they considered it to be “nice.”  They all mostly testified that in their opinion, it was nice, but not lavish.  Personally, since I am familiar with the area, I know what home values are around there, and I know what kind of house $381,000 buys in northern Kentucky.  It gets you more than just “nice.”

So, it continued throughout the week in this fashion.  They did not put all of the PKG members on the stand back-to-back, but interspersed them between the other witnesses over the course of the first week.

And then Steve Dalrymple took the stand…

At first, his testimony was much like the others, with the exception that we found out that he had quit his full-time job to become an employee of the church and to work on the shipping of the books.  We saw pictures of the operation that runs out of his house to bundle up and mail the books.  We saw pictures of the equipment used to conduct this operation.  We saw pictures of the boxes and boxes of books in a storage locker, where they are kept until they are needed for the mailing operations.  We also saw the computers and equipment used to make tapes and CDs of the audio recordings of Mr Weinland’s sermons, which are also mailed out at times.

The prosecution asked him about his weekly expenses for the church, and how they are reimbursed.  He testified that he handled booking the meeting space for the Cincinnati congregation each week in the hotel and put that on his credit card.  He also testified that he paid for the various expenses related to the shipping and storage of the books (with the exception of the postage meter, which was paid through a Weinland card), and how he would submit those receipts for reimbursement from the church.

The prosecution asked him what kinds of things he would consider to be church expenses.  Then they asked him what kinds of things he would consider to NOT be church expenses.  They asked him if he traveled or dined out with Mr Weinland, and he confirmed that he did attend an Elder’s meeting at one time in Las Vegas.  When asked why the meeting was in Las Vegas, since there was no church, or logical reason other than personal entertainment to go there for a meeting, he testified that it was Mr Weinland who chose their meeting locations. {I am aware of elders conferences in Las Vegas in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011.  The last two established as being in the 5-diamond Venetian Resort Hotel Casino}.

It was at this time that the prosecution asked the judge for “leeway” with the witness, and this was granted.  It began to get very interesting…

The attorney began showing Mr Dalrymple receipts for various “expenses” of Ron Weinland.  He showed him receipts from a spa.  Mr Dalrymple did not know what “deep-tissue” was that was listed on the receipt, and had to be told that deep-tissue was a kind of massage.  Apparently a very expensive massage.  Would that be an appropriate church expense?  He stumbled and mumbled, and said that if Mr Weinland had a bad back, then it could possibly be a church expense.  He did not have an explanation for the next receipt, which was another deep-tissue massage, this time for Laura.

The prosecution showed receipts for shopping, from the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas, and a couple receipts from Nordstroms.  Were those church expenses?  He began to visibly shrink within himself, as there appeared to be no way for him to continue to defend his Prophet.  No, those did not look like church expenses.

The prosecution showed receipts from the Union Pet Clinic, listing many expensive bills for veterinary care for the Weinland’s dog.  Did Mr Dalrymple think that medical care for the dog fell under the umbrella of church expenses?  No, those did not look like church expenses either.

Steve Dalrymple took the stand with the air of someone who was going to do everything in his power to defend Mr Weinland’s actions, even though he was a witness for the prosecution.  He left the stand looking like someone who had been crushed by the knowledge that their hero was in fact a human being, and a very flawed and dishonest one.

Defense cross-examination did not occur until the next morning.  It appeared that when he returned the next day, that he had time to collect himself, as he once again presented himself as Mr Weinland’s foot soldier, and not as someone who had helped, just the day before, lay the foundation for the prosecution’s case of excessive spending and expensing to the church.  Perhaps he received some counseling from the church regarding his feelings of doubt that were beginning to emerge.

{Steve is one of Ron’s senior elders.  He also financed (by donating his air miles) Ron and Laura’s first overseas trip after becoming a prophet to the UK and western Europe in November of 2009.}

PKG Government Structure

We did get to very briefly see the by-laws for the current corporation, but they weren’t discussed in detail, and we really didn’t get much of a chance to read them.  However, it was pointed out that the current PKG by-laws state that there should be a Board of Directors for the church.  I believe that the defense explanation for this is that Ron is the only one who currently sits on that Board of Directors.

There was no succession plan in the even of RW’s death that I was made aware of.  It seemed to me that in his mind, his death would only be the fulfillment of the apocalypse timeline that he’s been preaching, so there would be no need for a successor.   Maybe planning for a successor would be to admit that his prophecies are false?

Ron Weinland’s “Pouty Mouth”

What struck me from day one of the trial was the expression on Mr Weinland’s face, and how he managed to keep up such an odd expression every day for a week and a half.

I had to look in the mirror one evening to figure out exactly what kind of facial contortions were required to get it just right.  In order to achieve the Ron Weinland courtroom face, one must pull the corners of your lips down as far as you can, while simultaneously pulling your lips in the middle up as high as you can.  The result is an exaggerated, upside-down U of a frown, that puffs out your bottom lip like a pouting child.

Every time I looked at him, he was sitting there with that pouty mouth listening to the witnesses testifying against him.  It was a little unnerving.

——-  End of Juror #215’s Report ——————————–
I chuckled when reading the last part.  As a youngster, when one of my younger siblings would exhibit a face like this, I would tease them about having a “porch mouth”.  The lower lip looks like the porch sticking out of the front of a house underneath the “roof” of the nose.

When Herbert Armstrong had his legal difficulties during 1979, he fled to Arizona and set up a new “corporation sole“.  Ron had pretty much the same idea back in 2000, but didn’t bother to go through the legal niceties.  The “United” corporation that Juror #215 was the local corporation entitled “United Church of God — Toledo” or some variation on that.  After splitting from United in 1997 and prior to his takeover early in 2000, the corporation was retitled as “The Church of God, Inc” which is still the title through Ron is doing business as, and I mean really doing business as, the Church of God – PKG.

I’d be interested in seeing where in the Bible that Ron is placed directly below Jesus over everyone else.  Must be in 1 Weinland 2:1.

Armour of God

“Somewhere in the Cincinnati region” False Prophet Ronald Weinland delivered his first sermon since becoming a convicted felon.  It’s a smaller location, perhaps his basement or a small hotel room in Northern Kentucky area to which he is restricted.  Joey Shockey, a 20-something member delivered the opening prayer and Ron himself gave the closing.  But I doubt that indicates that many in his local area have awakened from their stupor.

Ron claimed that PKG has adjusted quite well since the failure of his prophecy on Pentecost, but mentioned devastation within his church with a few of his members leaving during this past week, and that this morning he’d heard of losing a member in Europe.  He warned against turning inward, instead people should look to God.  He warned against focusing on one’s own financial problems (brought on by profligate spending influenced by belief in the return of Christ on May) , stating that that financial problems would be the least of one’s worries in this Day of the Lord.

Spiritual warfare is being waged mightily, with Satan hoping to distract his members with their problems (brought on by listening to Ron).

Ron gave the analogy of impurities brought to the surface of melted gold, to members getting rid of impurities brought about by trials.  Makes one wonder why Ron didn’t change his act after the IRS knocked on his door on July 2, 2008 — of the 5 years he was charged with, that was the one with the highest tax loss.

Rest of the post below:

After an enjoyable evening ballroom dancing and a good night’s sleep, I’ve listened to the rest of the sermon and digested it a bit.  If I had done that before starting this post, I would have named it “Spinning it Like It’s 1979”.  I wrote a post with a similar title back in 2008 after learning of the IRS criminal investigation, as some of his own members who learned of it were already making that comparison.

Even back in the ancient days before Al Gore invented the Internet, Herbert Armstrong had his accusers who described financial mismanagement (and other sins we won’t discuss here).  Herbert Armstrong bought art, expensive tableware, rented expensive yachts, etc. He also had his own personal jet aircraft and homes.  The California state attorney general became concerned about the financial mismanagement and joined various members in a civil suit and had a receiver put in place to manage the church’s financial affairs.  Herbert Armstrong and his house attorney Stan Radar waged a legal and publicity battle with full-page newspaper ads characterizing it as an attack on religious freedom.  While they didn’t do so well in court, they won the battle in the California state legislature, getting a law limiting the power of the attorney general to intervene as he had.  The episode is covered in greater detail at the Ambassador Report page hosted by The Painful Truth website. Issues of interest are :
AR7, AR8, AR9, AR10, AR11, AR12, AR13, & AR14.

Herbert Armstrong responded to his critics without any legal powers by stating that he would not dignify their accusations by responding to them.  During the entire sermon, Ron did not mention the criminal trial or that he is now a convicted felon.  Other than his statement that he was handling his critics the same way.  “Those who follow God hear Christ’s voice, and those who do not are listening to other voices but not Christ’s.”  Uh-huh.  I guess when you don’t have a good answer to valid criticisms, it’s best to pretend to take the high road.  Ron, the corruption brought out at your trial is even worse than I thought it was.

Ron claims that spiritual war is being waged by Satan on PKG just as he did on Herbert Armstrong in 1979.  But I thought this was the Day of the Lord, who is spending this year kicking tail and taking names.  Hmmm.  The implication is that websites like this publicizing details of Ron’s misdeeds are tools of Satan’s constant warfare.  Never mind whether or not the accusations are true — how could any accusations against an Apostle of God be true?  And how do we know they are Apostles of God?  Because they said so.  And why should we believe them?  Because they are Apostles of God.  So there!!!

He spent part of the sermon in Ephesians 6, reading verses:

Eph 6:11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Eph 6:14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

PKG members should read the entire book of Ephesians, which includes these verses:

Eph 4:14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Eph 5:3  But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
Eph 5:4  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
Eph 5:5  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Eph 5:6  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Eph 5:7  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

If Satan is waging spiritual warfare on the Church of God — PKG, his tool is named Ronald Weinland.  Who as brought out in court used the sacrifice you made thinking it for God’s purpose to live a high life with BMWs, cruises, vacations, jewelry for Laura, and other such Godly expenses.  If he had not been so greedy that he failed to render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s, we wouldn’t know about it.

While I still believe that Ron has kept most of his members, Ron’s mention of members leaving and the theme of his sermon indicate that quite a number of his members have left, enough to make him concerned.  To those PKG members who have left or are questioning events, I invite you to participate in the comments section here on this blog.  You may chose an anonymous blog ID as ChaCha has, or be more open as Kirrily chose to do.  If you have a personal support system available to you, people with who you can discuss what has happened, I encourage you to use it.  If not, this blog is available to you.

Witness Johnny and a Sixth Thunder Rumble

During False Prophet Ronald Weinland’s criminal trial, the defense put on only 4 witnesses: a couple of expert witnesses of no apparent value.  And Ron who did more harm for himself.  And his senior evangelist, Johnny Harrell.  The prosecution asked Johnny about his involvement with Ron’s Swiss bank accounts, which Ron mentioned in his blog post on the indictment as:

As it was stated in that sermon, those funds were placed in my name, yet there was also another name on the account, as an additional representative (an evangelist) of the Church, who had full access and legal right to those Church funds at any time.

The two trial jurors are continuing to participate, and today the foreman had this to say about Johnny’s testimony.

Johnny Harrell – Co-conspirator or Clueless?

I believe that there has been some discussion here regarding Johnny Harrell, Mr Weinland’s ‘Senior Evangelist’ and how much he really knows about the chruch’s scams. Mr Harrell took the stand for the defense, but he really didn’t do anything to help Mr Weinland’s case at all. He came across in his testimony as a bumbling fool. For example…

In an attempt to prove that the Swiss bank account was really church money and not the Weinland’s personal money, Ron and Laura flew Johnny and his wife to Switzerland with them (Mr Harrell testified that he paid for their own expenses for this trip) in order to have Johnny sign a Power of Attorney form there, giving him the rights to the account in the case of the Weinland’s death. I believe that this was in 2004 or 2005. Now, this seems like a plausible defense to establish the $400,000 in the Swiss bank as being church money and not personal, until the prosecution began their cross-examination.

Did Mr Harrell know how much money was in the account? No.
Did Mr Harrell know the account number? No.
Did Mr Harrell REALLY know what the Power of Attorney form was that he had signed? No.

The prosecution had Mr Harrell read some of the content on the PoA form aloud for the court. He stumbled over the words, not seeming to understand the relatively simple legal jargon. The prosecution asked him the meaning of what he had read, and he really didn’t know. Johnny came across as just an especially clueless minion, and it appeared to the jury during our deliberations, that based on the church elders that we had seen in the trial, that Mr Weinland was hand-selecting the “leadership” of the church based on how completely gullible and easily manipulated they were. Mr Weinland needed someone who could access that money in the event of an emergency, but he wanted to make sure that the person he chose had no clue what they were doing.

One particularly telling part of his testimony was when the prosecution was trying to ask him questions about Mrs Weinland, and to give some kind of evidence that she had done SOMETHING in the church, other than being Mr Weinland’s wife, that justified Ron declaring her the Second Witness. Mr Harrell’s response back to the attorney was to turn red in the face, get a wild look in his eye, and start screaming, “READ YOUR BIBLE!” It has apparently never occurred to him that other people in the world might read the bible and come up with an entirely different interpretation of it than what has been forced upon them by Ron all of these years.

It was just sad and pathetic.

Ron went to Switzerland in January of 2003 to open the accounts.  When asked again about the timing, the jury foreman indicated that he was sure that the Power of Attorney was executed after 2003 and after the accounts were opened.

And the juror statements were that Johnny’s name was not on the account, he didn’t have the account number.  And the power of attorney gave him access to the accounts in limited conditions such as Weinland’s death.  Lets contrast that with what Ron said.

As it was stated in that sermon, those funds were placed in my name, yet there was also another name on the account, as an additional representative (an evangelist) of the Church, who had full access and legal right to those Church funds at any time.

A little discrepancy there, Ron.  I wonder what $1700 suits smell like when they’re burning.  Because Ron, your pants are ablaze.

And Johnny, you have to remember that the public at large does not have the special eyes to see the verse in Revelation 11 that states that Ron and Laura are the Two Witnesses.  Actually it’s only Ron who can read that verse, and only PKG members who have the ears to hear when he reads it.

Ron also has a little publicity (sixth thunder) from some national news outlets.  Forbes magazine wrote a nice little article  which was picked up by the Huffington Post.

What’s Next for Ron?

On Saturday, False Prophet Ronald Weinland will make his first appearance before the PKG faithful following last week’s event with 12 jurors showing him that not everyone is vulnerable to his mind-twisting games and lame excuses like his followers by adding Convicted Felon to his long list of titles.

I expect that Ron will be in full spin mode on Saturday.  He will probably blame his conviction on the government’s refusal to recognize the value of the Silent Witness accompanying him on his jaunts around the globe.  My guess is that if his only violation were Laura’s travel expenses, the IRS would have assessed back taxes and a healthy (well unhealthy to Ron) civil penalty, but that IRS Criminal Investigation would have turned their attention to more worthwhile targets.

The two jurors who have joined this blog as commenters have passed along trial testimony.  There was more than Laura’s travel expenses — much much more.  Here is a list compiled by the jury foreman and I have added some other information given.

– BMWs for Jeremy and Audra, plus another for the two witnessesAnd shipping two of them across the Atlantic ocean but in opposite directions.
– Jewelry for Laura (lots of jewelry), which Ron claims was to barter when the Great Tribulation struck
– Family vacations around the world, not on church business
– Cruises, including spa and massage services while on the boat.  Ron and Laura went on an Alaskan cruise in July of 2006 and a 12-day Mediterranean cruise in October of 2007 that I know of.
– Trips to Las Vegas, not on church business.  And more trips to Vegas for elders conferences, in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011 that I know of.
– Trips to visit other family members out of town
– Dining out around Cincinnati and northern Kentucky, while not doing church business
– Audra’s condo mortgage, and monthly homeowners association fees
– All of Audra’s utility, cable and phone bills
– All of Ron and Laura’s utility, cable and phone bills
– Security systems for both their home and Audra’s condo
– Medical and dental services, including LASIK surgery for Audra
– Miscellaneous expenses for Jeremy, including ski trips.  Jeremy went skiing while Ron was opening the Swiss bank account.
– Personal grocery shopping trips on a regular basis
– Many trips shopping for expensive clothing, including places like the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas, Nordstrom’s, and Tommy Bahama.  Including a $1700 suit, to wear to church and to court.  Oops on the latter, the bragging about that was ill advised.
-College tuition paid for Jeremy.  From other statements from the jurors, seems there was a church scholarship program and the only recipient was tada!!! Jeremy.
– Wedding ring set for Jeremy’s wife.  Ron threw a reception for Jeremy and Patricia.
– Wedding ring set for Audra.  And Ron threw a reception for Audra and Chris.
– Expensive artwork presumably housed in Ron and Laura’s home
– Miscellaneous entertainment, including shows on the Las Vegas Strip.  Like the Blue Man Group.

The corruption indicated by the jurors was even more extensive and blatant than I had guessed.  Former member Kirrily, who disengaged from Ron’s enchantment in 2009, was shocked and sickened by these revelations.

I don’t know for sure how Ron caught the attention of the IRS.  I doubt that with Laura and Audra keeping the books that anyone turned them in for either revenge or reward. A juror indicated that he thought one of Ron’s banks may have turned him in, maybe a few transactions that were a bit too large.  If not that, then maybe the IRS looked at Ron’s tax return with $35,000 salary and $35,000 housing allowance Vs the Triple Crown Country Club address and his 3 BMWs plus another vehicle and smelled a rat.  They started pulling on threads and the whole thing came unraveled, including the Swiss bank accounts.

Now we look at the possible consequences for Ron.  Each and every one of the 5 counts on which he was convicted has a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  On top of which he still has to pay his taxes.

In reality, the sentencing guidelines will be used to impose the sentence.  I had an article on this blog in January with more details on the sentencing guidelines.   First the prison sentence.  An offense level is established based on the tax loss.  The aggregate tax loss for all years convicted is added up.  The amount given in the indictment, $357,065 is more than $200,000 and less than $400,000 for offense level 18.  Above or below that range changes the offense level by 2.

The jurors did not determine a tax loss figure, only that there was a tax loss during each of the years charged and Weinland willfully attempted to evade paying those taxes.  During the sentencing phase, the defense lawyers will be looking to reduce the tax deficiency, but the prosecution may be looking to increase it.  The burden of proof is not “beyond a reasonable doubt” but rather a less burdensome “preponderance of the evidence”.

To the base offense level of 18, another 2 levels for “sophisticated means”, the Swiss bank accounts, could be added for a total level of 20.  For someone like Ron with no prior criminal history, offense level 20 aligned with a sentencing range of 33 to 41 months.  Each change of two levels changes the prison term by 6 to 8 months.  Since this prison term is longer than one year, Ron cannot get probation or serve his sentence at home or in a halfway house.  He’ll have to go to “the big house”.  Well actually he’ll probably go to a minimum security camp.

Within a sentencing guideline of 33 to 41 months, 40 months is the most appropriate judgement for a scamming tax cheat who claims to be a prophet of the God of Abraham and an end-time witness of Revelation 11.  But with time off for good behavior, only 85% would need to be served.  When you consider the length of time for the investigation and obtain the indictment, hardly balances out.  The investigation began before the IRS confronted the Two Witnesses on July 2, 2008  and the indictment was returned on Nov 10, 2011, just about 40 months.

Next the fine.  An offense level of 20 results in a fine ranging from $7500 to $75000.  The government will look at the cost of incarcerating him to determine the fine.  For 3 years in prison the cost will probably be closer to $75,000.

Additionally, Weinland will be assessed $100 for each of the 5 counts for which he was found guilty.  And he may be required to pay the cost of the trial.  Each juror is paid a paltry $40/day.  But the first day, there were 50 candidate jurors called.  $2000.  Then an additional 7 days for 12 jurors and 2 alternates is around another $4000.  Then each witness is paid $40/day so Ron will have to pay the fees for his daughter and all his church members to testify.  Plus all the other witnesses.  Federal courts also pay mileage to their jurors and witnesses.

Then there’s the cost of Ron’s defense.  For Ron’s 3 lawyers just to sit through the 8-day trial at say $500/hour is $100,000.  And several times that for trial preparation.  And the cost of his expert witnesses, such as the forensic accountant who couldn’t stay awake during the trial.  In his blog posting of November 26 discussing the indictment, Ron stated: “The Church has a great team of lawyers and an investigator who are vigorously working to defend the Church and myself.” Wait a minute, Ron.  The Church was not in legal difficulty, you personally were.  Just as you aren’t supposed to wear the $1700 threads paid for by the Church to court on a personal matter, you don’t get to charge your defense to the Church either.  Ron, you’re going to have to treat that as income.  Your $200,000 annual salary from the Church probably won’t cover the taxes on the cost of your legal defense.

In addition to prison term and fines, Ron will have to pay his back taxes.  And probably the usual civil penalties.  Indications from the jurors were that Ron continued operating pretty much as before two IRS Special Agents showed up on his doorstep on July 2, 2008 (in the following sermon he talked about attacks by Satan).  So Ron is probably way, way behind on his taxes for 2009, 2010, and 2011.  I hope that part of the process is to bring him fully in compliance with his taxes including whatever withholding is needed for the legal expenses paid by the church = income.

But PKG members will buy his lame excuses about being persecuted for taking the Silent Witness along or whatever other lame excuses he comes up with.  This will be regarded as persecution of the church, never mind that it was really prosecution of a scamming tax cheat.

Still on Plan A But a New Section

False Prophet Ronald Weinland is wearing the GPS ankle bracelet of humility under his $1700 suit of sackcloth of humility.  Since he is restricted to his $381,000 mansion on the golf course,  he did not deliver the sermon this weekend.  His evangelists Wayne Matthews and Johnny Harrell gave a split sermon. Perhaps in the same Cincinnati-area hotel meeting room they’ve used in the past.  The picture below shows the meeting room they use, typically there is a partition pulled out from between the two sets of doors on the side of the room which cuts the room in half .

Gijs Van Lerberghe traveled all the way from Belgium to deliver the opening prayer.  Wayne launched right into his half of the sermon, assuring everyone that he is still following “Plan A”, just as other have been following “Plan A” for 30, 40, 50 years.  But Wayne is finding sections of the plan of which he was not aware.  Wayne, this is what your “Plan A” is: find someone who claims to know certain mysteries including when Christ is returning.  When that person dies, another section of the plan is to find someone else just like him to grab the ring in your nose and lead you around.  Through yet more “sections of the plan” as their prophecies don’t come true.  Somehow PKG is not a cult and they are not following a man.  Ah, yeah.  Riiiight, Wayne.

God will strike unbelievers with plagues of mercy and love, and maybe even give them the spiritual mind to understand how that makes sense.   Ron’s book “2008 — God’s Final Witness” is physical proof and everything in it will come physically true, including no doubt this statement on the last page: “By the fall of 2008, the United States will have collapsed as a world power, or it will have begun its collapse and no longer exist as an independent nation within six months after that time.”

Johnny followed Wayne, initially announcing that Ron would be giving the sermon next week.  I wonder if Ron will be giving it from his home.  We know he won’t be giving it from the conference room shown in the picture above, not only because it’s obvious that more people know where it is but also because Ron is restricted from crossing the Ohio river into Cincinnati.  Maybe Ron will clear out all the books in his basement to hold services there.  Or maybe he will make arrangements with the probation office to hold services in a hotel room in Northern Kentucky.

Wayne had pointed out that PKG has a negative reputation, both in the world and within the scattering from WCG.  Quite true, at least for those few even among the scattering who are aware of you.  And more in the world became aware of you this moth, such as the twelve jurors who have a low opinion — well, not of the church members, but rather of Ron.  Johnny continued with that theme, stating that spiritual warfare continues with the church is being persecuted.  But reminded them of Ronnie’s new statement, to bless those who persecute you.

That is quite appropriate.  Ron wants you to bless your persecutor.  Because, PKG member, your persecutor is named Ronald Weinland, whom you are blessing with your continued devotion and tithes and even in more tangible ways such as Joyce Garrett who put her home at risk as bond to secure Ron’s pre-sentencing release so he can rest in his comfortable home and watch Mad Money on cable TV.

Johnny told the members to remain seated after the closing prayer.  Which was delivered by the church webmaster and church scholarship recipient Jeremy Weinland, who has returned from Germany for his father’s trial and perhaps because his meal ticket is coming to an end.  I wonder if Jeremy was ordained to a higher than associate elder position.  Maybe 20-something Jeremy does have potential within the church and is being groomed to take it over while Daddy rests in Club Fed.  OK, a lot of speculation there, but it wouldn’t be the first time something like this has happened within Armstrongism.

Joyce Gets Some Time for God

It’s been an eventful week in the Wacky World of Weinlandism. (All links within this post are to other posts on this blog). On Wednesday, Ron gets a new title of “Convicted Felon” as the jury returns guilty verdicts on all 5 counts.   Ron puts up some gold as bond so that he can wear the ankle bracelet of humility in home detention instead of going straight to jail.

With Ron on a short leash, probably was not time to rent a location for church services in Northern Kentucky.  Maybe Wayne Matthews is still in town and will substitute, delivering some of his patented cheer-leading for Ron today.

Details of the trial began to come out.  The list of witnesses included a number of PKG members.  Also a revelation of Ron buying 3 “beemers” (BMW automobiles).  Then a couple of the jurors showed up to relieve the stress of having to spend 8 days looking at a scumbag.  Their descriptions are included in the body of another  post and further details in the comments section there (more juror comments).

Salient points from the comments:

  • The jurors had never heard of Weinland before the trial (so much for the sixth thunder). And they did not read my blog until after the trial, in accordance with the judge’s instructions.
  • The prosecution did not make an issue of Ron’s wacky theology.  The jurors didn’t discuss it, instead focusing on the evidence.  The mention of religion came from the defense side of the courtroom.
  • Weinland and his family essentially used God’s money (PKG church funds) as their own personal piggy bank, with extravagant expenses such as artwork, travel, buying the 3 BMWs, one of them bought in Germany and shipped to the US and another bought in the US and shipped to Germany.  (Yes, you read that correctly, and I wrote that correctly.)
  • Ron’s testimony did not impress the jury.  They came out of the trial with a quite negative opinion of Weinland and his family.
  • So negative that they believe more of Weinland’s associates should be on trial.  And they think Ron should have been found guilty of more than he was charged with.

Yesterday, Ron put up another post on his blog (which is repeated below the fold at the end of this posting).  The jurors were understandably concerned about reprisals from members.  Perhaps Ron has let them off the hook with this statement “We are to pray for those who have engaged in activities against us, who have participated in ridicule and shown disdain toward us. We are to be of a forgiving attitude and remember we were once in those shoes and God has forgiven us.”  But I don’t think that yours truly is off the hook, because I am one of the 7000 “named” to die to jolt 63,000 ex-WCG members to join Ron’s church.

But before getting to Ron’s posting, an update.  The gold that Ron put up on Wednesday to secure his release was temporary.  The court had a deadline of yesterday for a permanent bond, which was met.  Not by Ron, but instead by his member Joyce Garrett.  Joyce lives across the street from Ron and was also a prosecution witness (probably a hostile one).  She has put up her house as bond for Ron.  So if Ron runs then she is out on the street.  Interestingly, she did not go all-in for Ron as she owns her house free and clear, according to paperwork filed with the bond.

—————– Ron’s Posting of 6/15/12 “God’s Time” ——————————–

Continue reading “Joyce Gets Some Time for God”

A Voice From the Jury

The jury made its opinion of False Prophet Ronald Weinland known on Wednesday by adding “Convicted Felon” to the list of his titles with guilty verdicts on all five count.

I’ve heard from commenter “bags” on another post.  The details given correlate with other information I have and I do in fact believe “bags” to have been on the jury.

Update: We’ve also heard from the jury foreperson, whose comment I have copied to this page as well.

—— Here is a copy of bags’ comment————————–

I was on the jury. This clown is a predator. The judge will give him the max (5yrs.) in my guess. I think Laura, Jeremy, & Audra should be indicted as well, along with some others. Seeing what this family has done makes me sick! The way I see it, what he was actually charged with is a small drop in the bucket as to how much money he has looted. The Weinland Clan riffled through $4.5 million in just over a few years.

There was not much comingling of funds. It was ALL HIS! In my mind, this pile of dung spent 90% of that money. The prosecution did not even begin to sort out what Ronald McScammer said was a church exspense on his behalf etc;. The IRS gave all of that to him. The ONLY legit exspenses I saw were very minor, as in slim to none.

The money completeley paid for any and all lifestyles for Laura, Ron, Jeremy and his wife, Audra and her husband, Darymple’s, and others. Out of the 90% of $4.5 million, the Weinlands alone, spent at least 80% of that money. We are talking Lasik eye surgery, Insight cable bills, utility bills, car insurance, global & domestic shopping sprees for clothing, art, & jewelry, homes, on and on….basically everything and then some. In a nutshell these scumbags paid any and all exspenses down to groceries and morning coffee out of these church donations! The so called “church money” equals Ron and families money.

What a brazen piece of garbage. These people are sociopaths. I feel for those of you who were ever entangled with this freak! There is nothing at all Godly about this man. That is putting it lightly.

By the way, I am sure the “church money” paid an obscene amount on his ridiculous defense team (Cline you were a joke). {John Cline was defense lead.  Mike} In their defense, it is rough working with a guilty, lying, con. I hope you bled him out.

McBride and his team, I salute you. {Robert McBride was the lead prosecutor.  Mike}

By the way, in 2007 when they bought three new BMW’s within a few months totalling $100k plus. Ron & Laura also flew to BMW’s manufacturing facility to pick his 5 series up from the factory and then had it shipped to the U.S.

On the flip side, they purchased Jeremy’s 335i in Cincinnati, Ohio and later paid to ship that one to Germany. Huh??? Just one small detail of a disgusting number of details. No worries though, Audra is still just rolling around locally in her 328xi. We need to write a book about this convict. The Devil Wears Prada?? No, the devil drives a Beamer and drinks $5 Starbucks.

It was really disheartening when an elderly lady on social security who was struggling once she moved here from Wisconsin to follow this lunatic borrowed $3,000.00 from the “church money”to get on her feet in Northern Kentucky. She did pay back the $3k and guess where that check was deposited. It was deposited into Laura’s account. The question is…..How many millions of dollars, euros, etc; have the Weinlands really stolen from victims? Five years in the Federal Hotel? This entire family should be hanged. They are all criminals! They are most definately conspiritors.

——————— End of bags comments ——————–

————- Below are Comments from the jury foreperson ——–

Hello all,

I too, was on the jury for this case, and was the foreman (#215) who signed the verdict form displayed in an earlier post (I’m glad that my signature was removed before it went public).  After the trial was over, and the Judge released us from our oaths to avoid investigating online any of the details of Ron Weinland and PKG on our own, I found this site later that night, saw the posts about the trial and verdict, and began following the comments in order to gauge public opinion regarding the decisions that we made.

When I left the courthouse that afternoon, I felt very tired and physically drained by the decision that we had to make, and by the gravity of the consequences for Mr Weinland, even though we all felt that he deserved to be found guilty and that he should receive the maximum penalties that could possibly be given.  Reading the comments from all of you on this blog that night, I was uplifted by the unanimous relief and gratitude from the commenters at the verdict that we had reached.  We knew that the way that Mr Weinland was fleecing his members by convincing them that he was a Prophet who had the ultimate authority on Earth over the church and humanity was deplorable, and the fact the members were handing over so much of their money just to have it spent on Mr Weinland’s luxuries was repellent.  However, although we were given these facts as evidence, none of those crimes were what he was actually being charged with.  We had to use that as evidence to determine for each year:
Did Mr Weinland owe taxes for that year?
Did Mr Weinland take actions to provide false information on his tax returns and evade paying those taxes owed?
Did Mr Weinland *willfully* take those actions to provide false information and evade paying his taxes? (Meaning, he did this intentionally, and not just in error or in ignorance)

Let me say that based on the opinions and details expressed by “bags” above, this is definitely another one of the members of the jury, which is why I’m choosing to speak now as well.

Believe me, that just walking into the jury room and calling a vote as soon as the door closed would have been the easiest resolution here, but after all of the hard work from the Prosecution, we were not going to ruin it by being slackers in doing our jobs to deliberate the case.  We talked for a two hours solid before even beginning to vote on any of the five counts.  We gave each member of the jury a chance to get out in the open any impressions or details of the case that they had been wanting to say for the previous week and a half, but were not allowed, and then we selected specific exhibits that were key to the case for further review.  Only after we had done all of this, did we begin debating each year individually and voting on each count separately.  It was an efficient and speedy deliberation, but thorough.

Defense arguments were weighed for validity against the documented evidence and found to be lacking.  There were NO reasonable doubts, only the defense grasping at straws, and trying to use childish verbal imagery in an attempt to sway us emotionally.  The defense attorney repeatedly stated that in order to find Mr Weinland guilty, we had to believe that he had “an evil mind, and a black heart.”  This “black heart” rhetoric seemed to be the core of their defense, but it just came across as the stuff of fairy-tales, as if Mr Weinland was the Evil Queen, trying to give Snow White the poison apple.  I didn’t feel that he had a “black heart,” but rather an arrogant one.  He has surrounded himself by persons who are easily manipulated and have lost the critical-thinking skills that should be used to question the actions of someone in authority.  His mistake was in the arrogance of thinking that others, including the IRS and Government (and quite possibly this jury) would be just as easily manipulated as his poor members.  I was shocked on Tuesday morning when he chose to take the stand in his own defense, as I anticipated that the procecution would use the opportunity to their advantage, but I suspect that he thought before taking the stand that we would all succumb to his charms.

Mr Weinland would have been wise to heed a quotation that comes not from the book of Revelation which he chooses to twist to his own benefit, but instead from Sir John Dalberg-Acton, who in 1887 said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

I do admit that while none of the witnesses from the church appeared to be violent people, the thought has crossed my mind that if any members of the church were to go off the deep-end, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch for them to decide that we are the “enemy” and to seek vengeance, which is why I advised the other jurors to make sure to keep our actual names hidden online and in the media.

I thank you all again for your appreciation and support of our verdict.

–Juror #215

——————-  end of foreperson’s comments ———-

Any other jurors?

(Note: the two jurors responded with many more comments below, starting with this one)

Ron Rests

A message from False Prophet and Convicted Felon Ronald Weinland to his faithful followers yesterday evening after finishing the trial, posting $300,000 bond, and getting fitted for a GPS ankle bracelet:

Please feel free to pass this on to others that I might miss in this email

Hello to everyone,

After a week and a half, the jury was finally sent out and came back in a couple of hours with a guilty verdict on all five counts. I expected to be taken to jail immediately, as the lawyer said that would be the likely thing the judge would require. The prosecutor did his best to get me put there immediately, but I am allowed to be in home confinement until sentencing which is set for Sept. 24. I do have to wear an ankle bracelet (GPS) during this period of home confinement.

As I was mentioning this to someone in a phone conversation, I stated that I actually welcomed staying here for this period of time because Laura and I were simply getting worn out from all the travel. I will be writing a post about some of this, but I wanted to inform everyone now about what has happened and encourage all of you to share this with the rest of the brethren.

As one sr. elder just sent me an email upon hearing about this, he stated: “Adding an ankle bracelet to sackcloth and ashes is a way to add to your fashion statement.” I needed some good humor when I got home after court today and that certainly did it.

Our love to all of you,
Ron & Laura

Rest up Ron, so you can sleep with one eye open in Club Fed.  I wonder if the bracelet coordinates with the sackcloth you got at Nordstroms.  I’ll be interested to see how you spin this.

More Witnesses

False Prophet Ronald Weinland has ended his job as Witness, but the government called a number of PKG members last week to have their try at being witnesses.  Here is description of some of the witnesses called during Ron’s trial.

Government Witnesses:

Up first was a witness coordinator for the IRS who introduced tax returns for Ron for tax years 2004 through 2008 and also tax returns for Jeremy for 2005-2008 and Audra for 2007.

Various PKG members, who except for Terry live in the Greater Cincinnati area:

  • Joyce Garrett:  lay member, lives across the street from Ron and Laura and watches their house when they travel.
  • Terry Lee Wrozek: Evangelist from Michigan, discussed contributions he made
  • April Combs, an associate elder (IIRC).
  • Tom Volle,  associate elder.  Discussed his contributions and church governance.
  • Ralph Dowd, senior elder and after Weinland the longest ordained elder, from WCG days before Tkach opened the first seal
  • Donna Kautz, a PKG member who lives just a few miles from Ron and Laura.  Seems Donna wrote Laura a check for $3000.
  • Steve Dalrymple:  senior elder, and managed order fulfillment of Ron’s books in 2007 and 2008.  Also knew something about payments to Lotus Spa, the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, a pet clinic, a fashion show, and Nordstrom purchases.
  • Audra Weinland Little, senior elder, church bookkeeper, and daughter of the Two Witnesses.  The government had a lot of questions for her.
  • Eileen, a former PKG member who was also involved in editing Ron’s first book.  Included a discussion of her contributions to PKG.

Employees of car dealers to discuss Ron’s vehicle purchases: a 2005 GMC Envoy,  a 2007 BMV 328xi, a 2008 BMW 535xi, and a 2007 BMW 335i.  The last was purchased in August of 2007 just after Ron got back from a trip to Europe and after the Total Resolve sermon and registered just before the Total Resolve Cruise.

A representative from Allstate discussing insurance payments in 2005 on a 2003 Pontiac, a 2003 Cadillac, a 2001 GMC, and a 2002 Golf.  Also a representative from State Farm discussing insurance payments for Ron’s cars after 2005 as well has insurance on real property and personal articles.

Representatives from Fifth Third bank to discuss the mortgages on Ron’s former house in Perrysburg, Ohio and current one in Northern Kentucky.  A representative of Citibank NA discussed payments for Audra’s condominium.  Seems that Ron was in the thick of getting the mortgage for Audra’s condo early in 2007 and paying for it.  A representative of the county property tax department discussed the tax assessment on Audra’s and Ron’s houses.  Representatives from the electric utility and sanitation departments discussed payments for service to Ron’s home and Audra’s home also, as well as the homeowners association dues for Audra and an alarm system company for the alarm on Audra’s condo.  Seems the church may have financed Lasik surgery for someone.

The government called a representative of Cincinnati State Community College discussing Jeremy’s attendance there and payments for his tuition.

The government called a representative of Jared’s Galleria.  Perhaps that’s where Ron and Laura bought the Silent Witness’s diamond rings.

The government finished its case with testimony from the IRS Special Agent who investigated the case beginning in 2008 and testified about her acquisition of the evidence.  The government put on a total of 32 witnesses during last week and Monday of this week.

Defense Witnesses

Johnny Harrell who discussed a personal power of attorney given him for Ron and Laura.

Taylor Trusty was an expert witness scheduled to testify as to the fair market value of Jeremy’s management of Ron’s websites. He was not allowed to testify.

David P Schoepf was an expert witness as to the fair market value of PKG use of part of Ron’s home.

Ron was the third defense witness to testify.  I think he would have been better off to have not testified.  There was no indication that he was allowed to introduce his December of 2002 sermon statement about the Swiss bank account into evidence, nor was any other sermon excerpt used during the trial. During his testimony the defense discussed purchases at Home Depot, Cafe Istanbul, and Harry and David (which sells fruit gift baskets).

Howard L Richshafer of Wood and Lamping LLP discussed 4 different FBAR reports for 2009.  That may have actually covered tax year 2008, at the end of which Ron announced in a sermon that he was shutting down the accounts and bringing the money to the US.

Rumblings from Kentucky indicate that Ron’s defense team may be organizing for an appeal.  But the judge has already indicated that an appeal would not delay Ron becoming a roommate with Bubba in Club Fed.