A Lotta Little Testimony

The witness who spent the most time on the witness stand in the criminal trial of False Prophet Ronald Weinland was Senior Elder Audra Little, church bookkeeper (well not really), and daughter of the Two Witnesses.  She was on the stand from 1 PM on the 4th day of the trial until mid-afternoon of the following day.

The questioning started with Audra’s background.  Her post-high school education included some business courses and an accounting class at community colleges.  She worked at an appliance store in Maumee, Ohio for 9 years.  She lived with Ron and Laura at their Toledo area home until they moved to Kentucky in 2005, but couldn’t remember which year that was.  Audra later moved to Kentucky early in 2007 to work for the church.  Audra married her husband Chris on September 9, 2008 while on a trip accompanying the Two Witnesses on one of the 3 trips they made to Europe that year.

The testimony covered Jeremy’s activities.  He attended school at community college, Cincinnati State, and Northern Kentucky University.  Jeremy lived in Audra’s condo for a time in 2007 and later married his wife Patricia and moved to Germany.

Next, the questioning turned to Audra’s duties for the church.  She termed herself as “office administrator”.  Her duties were to pick up the mail from Ron’s Cincinnati post office box, depositing tithe checks and forwarding mail to various church elders.  She balances the checkbooks and pays the bills for Weinland’s numerous credit cards.  She also handled the mailing out of Ron’s books when she started that job early in 2007, but later that operation was moved out of Ron’s basement to another location with Steve Dalrymple in charge.

Audra described picking up the tithe checks from the church PO box.  She made the trip to Cincinnati about every other day and ordinarily picked up enough checks to require 3 or 4 deposit slips, each of which can list 17 checks.  She made records of the tithes on a computer program set up by Greg Chipps, so she could send out a quarterly tithe report.  That is at least to the US members, who are eligible to deduct tithes from there income for tax purposes.  Unlike members in other countries who don’t have that opportunity since PKG is not registered outside the US.  Marriage ceremonies conducted by Ron or his elders overseas have to be backfilled with a trip to the equivalent of the courthouse.

Audra mentioned the geographic distribution of PKG members.  Cincinnati and Georgia are the largest, followed by Detroit/Toledo.  In some locations members gather in rented hotel conference rooms arranged by local elders who are reimbursed by the church.  Steve Dalrymple handles the Cincinnati area meeting location.

However, there were no members in Las Vegas.  Ron and Laura have traveled on the Church’s dime for both elders conferences and personal trips.  She also mentioned members in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the UK and the Netherlands.  And a few in the Middle East. The foreign areas have bank accounts at which tithes are collected for transfer to the US.

She described how members would listen to Ron on the Internet as he traveled, live if in the US or pre-recorded if overseas.  Sermon tapes can be sent out by April Combs for the older members who don’t access the Internet. Steve Dalrymple rents the hotel room in the Cincinnati area and submits an expense to Audra for reimbursement.

As senior elder, Audra can anoint people, and also counsel with someone if told to.  But she does not minister to a particular congregation.  When asked if she was an “at-large elder”, she did not understand the term.  She was unclear as to how long she had held the position to which she was ordained in January of 2010.  When asked the structure of the church, she said that her dad was at the top with evangelists, senior elders, and elders.  While some members said that God and Jesus Christ were above Ron, Audra’s answer is the accurate one.

Audra couldn’t remember whether it was 2008 or 2009 that she and Chris went to Hawaii for the feast (it was 2009). She was right on target in one exchange:
Q Who decides where the Feast of the Tabernacles will take place?
A My dad chooses the sites.
Q Do you know what criteria he uses?
A No.
Q Is there anything in your belief system that might guide criteria to pick the place of the Feast of the Tabernacles?
A I don’t think so.

Based on the responses to other questions by PKG members called to testify, I think they would have replied that God chose them by placing his name there — even the ones who have not been part of Weinland’s massive ordination program which included both of his children.

With a heavy work schedule, I haven’t yet sorted through all of Audra’s testimony. But I expect to blog more on Audra’s day in the spotlight over the next couple of weeks before the sentencing hearing.

You Can Take It to the Bank

False Prophet Ronald Weinland has transitioned from interpreting Revelation for the future to searching the headlines from dubious news sources for indications of fulfilling prophecies to interpreting Revelation 12 as prophesying medieval history.  Ron continued from last week’s sermon describing how Constantine established the beast of Revelation 13 in 323 CE by making false Christianity the state religion.  Constantine was the wounded head later healed under Justinian.

After the events of Revelation 13 being fulfilled in 323 CE, Revelation 12 is fulfilled with the woman(church) being hidden for 1260 years from the beast (the status of “Catholick-ism” as the state religion).  But in the 1500s the Catholic church lost its status and the pope his power with the rise of Protestantism (the invention of the printing press, Martin Luther, Henry VIII establishing the Church of England.) Somehow this period ended abruptly in 1583 CE.  Ron promises that you can take it to the bank that something significant happened in the church on Pentecost that year, but we don’t yet know what it is because Herbert Armstrong didn’t invent church history for that year.

Beginning in 1583 CE, the church began 430 years in spiritual Egypt which will end on Pentecost of 2013 CE. So we have Revelation 13 followed by Revelation 12 followed by Exodus 12.  Makes perfect sense.

Ron sees a twinge of light, which is his code word for the “daylight” portion of the “Day of the Lord”.  November 21 is exactly halfway “between the two evenings” of Pentecost of 2012 when Christ did not return and Pentecost of 2013 when Christ will still not return.  PKG members believe the present “present truth” that Christ will return on that date, and after next Pentecost will just as firmly believe the future “present truth” if Ron manages to communicate it somehow from prison.

Ron says that to prove his God’s truths is to try them out as a farmer would a new piece of equipment.  So how do Ron’s prophetic truths prove out?  Have any of them?  Did any of the thunders sound during 2007 when Ron was buying 3 BMWs and making two trips to Istanbul and other places?  Did “nukular” bombs detonate in US port cities in 2008?  Did the US fail to install a new president in 2009?  Did the US fall as an independent nation by the summer of 2009?  Was the US conquered by the beast by August of 2011? Did Christ return on Pentecost of this year?

Yes, there is a twinge of light for PKG. It’s the sentencing hearing for Ron on November 14, 4 years to the day after the Seventh Seal opened for the second time.

A More Specific Beast

False Prophet Ronald Weinland may have spoken yesterday from the basement of his $381,000 house on the golf course, encumbered with enough debt that his neighbor Joyce had to put her home on the chopping block to delay his visit to more modest digs at the bureau of prisons.  Which has been delayed by a couple of weeks by Judge Reeves order filed yesterday which delayed the sentencing by a couple of weeks.  Readers of my blog may have learned of this delay before Ron did, as he indicated a desire to finish up by next weekend’s sermon.

Ron threatened some who got second tithe assistance but didn’t actually attend with disfellowshipment.

Ron is rolling out yet another preset truth, a new sign and lying wonder related to a definition of the beasts with 7 heads and 10 horns.  Seems Constantine who was the first Christian Roman emperor was also the first beast.  Which somehow also ties in with a 430 year period.  Ho hum.


Yet More Time for Ron

(at Covington)

Criminal Action No. 2: 11-70-DCR-001
*** *** *** ***
The Court has received the Presentence Report in this matter and notes that it contains lengthy objections by the parties. As a result, the sentencing hearing will take more time than previously allotted. Therefore, being sufficiently advised, it is hereby ORDERED that the sentencing hearing previously scheduled in this matter for Monday, October 29, 2012, shall be RESCHEDULED for Wednesday, November 14, 2012, beginning at the hour of 10:00 a.m., at the United States Courthouse in Covington, Kentucky.

This 19th day of October, 2012.
/s/ Danny C. Reeves
United States District Judge


So Ron gets to wear the ankle bracelet of humility for a couple of weeks longer while he watches cable TV in the basement of his mansion on the golf course.  The new sentencing date is exactly 4 years since the Seventh Seal was opened for the second time, and 6 years since he sent “2008 — God’s Final Witness” to the publisher.  Also 1 year and 4 days after being indicted.

Testimony of Donna Kautz

Here is the testimony of PKG member Donna Kautz who lives comfortably (but not as comfortably as Ron and Laura) a few miles away from the golf course.  Donna’s answers are preceded by “A”, and “Q” by the attorney examining her.  Since Donna was a government witness, the prosecution led off.

Q Good morning, ma’am. How are you today?
A Good morning. Thank you, fine.
Q What is your name?
A Donna Kautz.
Q You live in Burlington, Kentucky?
A Yes.
Q How long have you lived in Burlington?
A Six years, it will be.
Q Six years soon?
A Uh-huh.
Q Do you know Mr. Ronald Weinland?
A Yes, I do.
Q How do you know Mr. Weinland?
A He’s the pastor of our church.
Q And is that Church of God – Preparing for the Kingdom of God?
A Yes, it is.
Q All right. I would like to ask you how you got to know Mr. Weinland initially?
A Through my sister and my niece, they — we were looking for  the church and came across the Church of God – PKG and joined it in 1999.
Q In 1999. Thank you.
A Yeah.
Q In 1999, where were you living, what part of the country?
A Wisconsin.
Q And had you had any affiliation with the United Church of God or the Worldwide Church of God yourself?
A No.
Q All right. How did you come to find Mr. Weinland?
A My niece, Cathy, found him.
Q How did she come to learn of him, do you know?
A She read a couple of articles he had written online and decided this is — he was speaking the truth and that’s where we were going to go.
Q Okay. The — when you first met Mr. Weinland or he became your pastor, what church were you involved in?
A Really, one of the small scattered churches, but there was only a few people.
Q I didn’t ask the question very well. Was Mr. Weinland with the United Church of God when you first met him?
A No.
Q Was it a Church of God in the Toledo area that he was —
A Yes. Yes.
Q Okay. Fine. Did you know anything about the structure of the Church of God in Toledo?
A Not really.
Q You weren’t a board member or anything of that nature?
A No. No.
Q So you’re just a regular member?
A Just a regular member.
Q All right. And how is it that you came to stay with Mr. Weinland when it became Church of God – Preparing for the Kingdom of God?
A We — he was speaking the truth, what we believe is the truth, and we could see it and we joined the church.
Q So you follow him because of his teachings; is that correct?
A Yes.
Q When you say he was speaking the truth, could you elaborate for us what you mean by that?
A I don’t know what you mean.
Q I’m trying to understand why you follow Mr. Weinland’s teachings.
A You mean my religious belief?
Q Yes.
A It was — it’s everything, it’s following the laws of the Bible, it’s the way we live.
Q Maybe I — let me ask it a better way. Did you feel that Mr. Weinland’s teachings were consistent with your understanding of God’s law?
A Yes.
Q Okay. Thank you.
A Completely.
Q Is that a better question?
A Yes.
Q What is your understanding of governance in the church?
A It is from the top down.
Q What does that mean?
A It means God to his son, from his son to the ministry.
Q And then the members?
A Right.
Q In the Church of God – Preparing for the Kingdom of God, what is the, for lack of a better term, hierarchy as you see it?
A In the physical church itself? Would be the ministry.
Q Well, do you have a different — do you see a difference, ma’am?
A I just didn’t understand what you meant.
Q What’s the structure of your church?
A Okay. There’s the regular — the lay members.
Q Uh-huh.
A And then we have associate elders, we have elders, we have senior elders, we have evangelists, and then we have the ministry.
Q Who is in the ministry?
A Well, I consider Ron our minister, but I think that the church really considers the elders and the senior elders, they would be part of the ministry.
Q So that’s the general organization of the church as it is now; correct?
A Yes, I believe.
Q Yes, ma’am, I’m only asking about what you know.
So in this hierarchy – and I’m just using that word for lack of a better one – are there different duties among the various levels?
A Yeah, a little bit.
Q Okay. So if you’re an elder, how are your duties different than if you’re a member?
A Okay. The first one would be associate elder.
Q Okay.
A And they can anoint. They can lay hands on at baptism, go to a senior elders. They could also do maybe, besides those two duties, some counseling if they’re, you know, able. And then to the ministry, of course. It would be all of those.
Q So there are more — there’s more authority as you go up the hierarchy?
A Yes.
Q Okay. Perfect. Let me ask you, that’s sort of the practical organizational structure of the church as it is now. Do you know what the legal structure of the church is?
A No, I don’t.
Q Let me talk — ask you about the period of 2004 to 2008. What was the structure of the church in those years?
A Well, we had, of course, the ministry. We didn’t have associate elders, we had elders, and I think we had a senior elder. I don’t think we had evangelists at that time.
Q So since 2008, it sounds as though the hierarchy of the organization has expanded; is that right?
A A little as far as the associate elders. I’m not sure about evangelists. Associate elders have been added, yes.
Q Do you know how many elders and associate elders there are in the church?
A No, I don’t.
Q Okay. Do you know why the hierarchy has been expanded?
A No, not really. I think it was needed at the time maybe. I don’t know, I can’t answer that truthfully.
Q Did Mr. Weinland ever talk about why it was expanding?
A I don’t know. I mean — well, we do, but we don’t. See, this is kind of confusing for me.
Q I’m sorry.
A Because we believe time is growing short, we needed people that would be able to baptize, we needed evangelists that would once in a while take over and have a sermon, things like that. But —
Q When you say time is growing short, what do you mean?
A We just think that things are becoming critical in this world.
Q And what happens when things become critical?
A Anything can happen. Anything can happen.
Q Are you talking about the coming of Christ?
A Well, at one time he will. I’m not saying he is going to right this minute, but, yes, he will sooner or later. But even in economic times, the things, it’s — it’s not good.
Q You said that you believe that time is running short and you believe that’s why the ministry is expanding; is that fair?
A Yes, I guess so. I guess.
Q And how do you know time is running short?
A I watch the news. I mean —
Q Have you ever heard Mr. Weinland talk about time running short?
A Yes.
Q And what did he say about it?
A Time is running out.
Q Did he give you a time frame, a schedule?
A Well, we thought at one time it was very, very close, but we realize now that we probably have another year.
Q What was the date you thought it was going to end?
A May 27th.
Q Of this year?
A 2012.
Q Now, what’s the date?
A May — Pentecost of next year, I believe. I don’t know the date.
Q May 19th, 2013?
A May 19th. Okay.
Q You think that’s about right?
A Yeah.
Q Okay. What are you doing personally to prepare for end time on a practical side? Obviously you’re preparing on the spiritual side. What are you doing on a practical side?
A We have food in the house that would last us for a short time if the trucks were to stop running, if the rails stop running, if the gas shortage fills up. We have a little food, we have a little water to last us a couple of weeks, a month.
Q And when you say “we,” who do you mean?
A My son and myself. We live together.
Q So you and your family?
A Right, yes.
Q Are you holding these items to share with other church members during that time?
A No, I don’t live by other church members, but it would be for my neighbors if they needed it.
Q Okay. And what is it about end time that you think you will need it? Is it because of some breakdown in society or something —
A Yeah, I do. Yes.
Q Are you — what things are you doing, again, on the practical side to prepare for continuing the church’s method when the end of the age comes?
A I don’t understand.
Q As a member —
A Yeah.
Q — are you taking any practical steps to be able to continue to spread the church’s message when the end of the age comes?
A Not that I know of, just living our life.
Q What would be your primary concern at the time the end of the age comes, do you think?
A Are you talking physical?
Q Practical side.
A If something were to happen?
Q Yes, ma’am. What’s on the practical side, how do you foresee what you’ll have to do on a daily basis to survive?
A Eat, have some food and have shelter. Hopefully, I’ll be in my house.
Q Have you been storing any items, have you bought any gold —
A No.
Q — to barter with?
A No.
Q Have you bought any diamonds to barter with?
A No.
Q Have you bought any jewelry that you expect to barter with?
A No.
Q Do you have some of those kinds of things you might barter with?
A No.
Q I would like to jump back in time a little bit, ma’am. You told us earlier that you were in Wisconsin.
A Uh-huh.
Q And you moved to this area about six years ago; correct?
A Yes.
Q Could you tell us about how you came to this area? What happened in your life that brought you here?
A Well, my husband died —
Q Uh-huh.
A — and — but I came down to observe Pentecost one year and I loved it. The flowers were growing and it was green, it was beautiful, and I went back home to 12 inches of snow. So I decided I’m getting out of here.
Q I understand that. I’m from Detroit originally, I understand. When you came down here, did you have any particular difficulty once you moved down here?
A As far as my —
Q Any financial difficulty?
A Yes.
Q What happened?
A Well, I had sold my house in Wisconsin and I had some savings and I had put it in the local bank. And the president of the bank happened to be a friend, because it was a very, very small town. And he said, oh, don’t worry about it, go down there and do what you got to do, and he said, I’ll transfer your money. Well, I got down here and three weeks later I couldn’t get any money. And I kept calling, and he said, well, you’re going to have to drive back up here. And I said, no, I can’t do that.
Meanwhile, my bills were due, my mortgage payment was due and I didn’t have any money. So I talked to the Weinlands and they borrowed me some money to pay my bills until I could get my finances in order.
Q So the church lent some money to you?
A Yes.
Q Do you remember how much that was?
A It was $3,000.
Q Did you pay it back?
A I paid it back right away, yes.
Q How did you pay it back?
A Cash — I mean, check, I believe.
Q It was a check?
A I believe I gave them a check.
Q You wrote a check. Who did you write the check to?
A I don’t remember who I made it out to, if I made it out to Laura Weinland or if I made it out to the Church of God.
Q If I showed you a copy of the check, do you think that might refresh your recollection?
A Yes.
MR. MCBRIDE: One minute, ma’am.
Q Ma’am, I’m going to show you this, you take a look at it, and then when you’re done, just look up and I’ll ask the CSO to retrieve it from you.
A Yes, that’s my check.
Q Does that refresh your recollection?
A Yes, made out to Laura.
Q Pardon? Who did you made that out to?
A Laura Weinland.
Q Thank you very much. Now, you continue to be a member of PKG; correct?
A Yes.
Q What congregation do you attend services at?
A Sharonville, Ohio.
Q Sharonville, Ohio?
A Yes.
Q Do you meet at the La Quinta Inn typically?
A Yes, we do. Yes.
Q As a member of the congregation, do you incur any expenses related to renting the room or anything of that nature?
A I have no — no part of that. I believe they do, I believe that we rent a room once a week.
Q What is — I’m sorry?
A I believe we rent a room there.
Q Who’s the elder that typically takes care of that?
A Steve Dalrymple, I believe. He’s the senior elder.
Q I would like to ask from a — kind of a practical point of view what are the steps or phases at the Sabbath meeting. So when you get there, what happens? A Well, we usually try to get there a little bit early, because it’s really scattered, so we like to get there and talk and, you know, things like that.
Q Visit with people you know?
A Visit, yeah, with the congregation. And we sit down and the service starts and we listen to the sermon. It’s usually two hours.
Q Not in terms of content, but in terms of the nature of the service or the sermon, how it is delivered to you typically?
A Over the Internet.
Q And who is giving the sermon typically?
A Mr. Weinland.
Q And is it usually live over the Internet; do you recall?
A Ninety-nine percent of the time, unless it’s a holy day and they have to be prerecorded, yeah.
Q Are there times Mr. Weinland has come to your congregation to give the sermon?
A Yes. Yes.
Q And you said sometimes it’s prerecorded. What do you mean by that?
A Well, if the sermon is given in Australia or New Zealand and they’re like 14 or 17 hours ahead of us, they listen to the sermon, and then it’s downloaded, because we usually listen at 2:30 in the afternoon. So then at 2:30 in the afternoon, we would listen to it here, so it has to be prerecorded.
Q So it’s a practical issue?
A Yeah, timing.
Q Timing. Are there other individuals who give sermons?
A There are a couple. Very seldom, though.
Q So it’s almost always Mr. Weinland?
A Yes.
Q Why is it always Mr. Weinland?
A He’s the head of our church, he’s our minister.
Q Do you find the sermons that are given that you listen to
by recording are the same quality and of the same purpose as the
ones that are given live?
A Absolutely. Absolutely.
Q In the 2004 to 2008 time frame, were there any women ordained in the church?
A 2004 to what?
Q 2008.
A I believe that’s when associate elders were made, then there would have been some women. I don’t have the exact timing on that. I think it was 2008, but I cannot be definite.

{Actually, it was early in 2010}
Q From your point of view as a member, how did it come about that women were beginning to be ordained in 2008 or sometime shortly thereafter? What happened? Anything?
A Well, I believe it was the timing and that it was finally brought about that women had the same rights as a man in our church, that what we call the curse was lifted, that women have the same status as a man. I mean, we work together, but they stand side by side. So women were ordained to be elders.
Q Who brought this awareness into the church?
A Mr. Weinland did.
Q Is it fair to say that with regard to all doctoral matters, Mr. Weinland is the source of that?
A Well, there was a lot of doctrine when Mr. Armstrong was head of the church, but since he has been the head of the church, yes, it comes through Mr. Weinland.
Q Thank you. I want to talk a little bit about some of the financial issues in the church. Were you aware that Mr. Weinland had taken some money to Switzerland?
A Yes.
Q What is your understanding of when that happened?
A Of when it happened?
Q Uh-huh.
A I’m not exactly sure when it happened. I remember hearing about it in a sermon. Is that what you mean?
Q Sure. What did he say?
A Well, at the time, the economy was kind of tanking again, I think, and he —
Q What year was this?
A It was kind of going down, the economy was not, you know —
Q What year?
A I’m not sure what year it was.
Q Do you think it was before 2004?
A I don’t know. I don’t know.
Q I’m just trying to get a point —
A I really, really don’t know. But it was because if things were going to be bad, he wanted to have money in Switzerland that the church could use to print more books, to send out books, to make CDs that we were sending out — or cassettes that were being sent out to people, just doing for the church. And he — he — it was in a sermon, everybody knew about it and nobody had a problem with it.
Q Where were the books published?
A Where were they published? I’m not sure where they were published. I think a couple of different places.
Q So you thought at the time the money was moved there that end time was upon you or close —
A No, no, no, but it was just the time to move it and in case things were to come, you know, down the road a little bit. It was just to have it there in case.
Q If I told you that sermon was in 2002, would that sound about right to you?
A It could be. I don’t know. I’m not going to speculate.
Q So is there any circumstance in which the church would have brought the money back to the United States based on the economy?
A Right, he brought money back to put into more advertising on Google, which was — he had told us at the time how much it was costing.
Q Do you know when that was?
A No, I don’t.
Q Was it after 2008?
A You’ve got me. I don’t know. I really don’t.
Q Well, let me ask you some questions about the money and maybe I can just move this along. Do you know what account — whose name was on the account?
A No, I don’t.
Q Do you know what bank it was in?
A No, I don’t.
Q Do you know how many accounts there were?
A No, I don’t.
Q Do you how much money was there?
A No.
Q Do you have a sense?
A No.
Q If you needed that money, how would you have accessed it?
A How would I personally have accessed it?
Q Uh-huh.
A I probably would have asked Ron for some.
Q Do you know what currency the money was held in?
A If it was in Switzerland, I’m not sure. Euros maybe. I don’t know.
Q Ma’am, are you aware that the — we talked a little bit about the books. Have you ever participated in getting the books ready for distribution?
A Yeah, a couple of times.
Q Tell us about that.
A We would go over to Steve Dalrymple’s, that’s when I did it. It had been going on long before that, though. And we would go to the garage and we would stuff the books into the envelopes, the big mailings, and we would — they would be bound up in a machine, put — bag them up in great big bags and take them to the post office and that was it.
Q These books are available on the Internet for download for free, are they not?
A They’re all free. We also ship them for free, no cost to anyone.
Q No cost to the person receiving them?
A That’s right, we pay for it, the church.
Q “We” meaning the church pays for it?
A The church, yes.
Q So there’s shipping costs associated with that?
A Shipping, mailing, packaging, stamps, everything.
Q Office equipment?
A Yeah.
Q Mileage, all those things?
A Uh-huh.
Q When you ship the books, are they in paperback form?
A We did both. We had the paperback and we also did the hard copy for a while there.
Q Hardback copy?
A Yeah, I believe. I believe. I can’t put a hundred percent, it’s been a few years, so — but we do have hardcover ones, we do.
Q When you participated in getting the books ready to ship, was that at the Weinland’s home?
A Yes, we did it at the Weinland’s home one time, because I remember a reporter coming there at the time. And then Steve Dalrymple’s house.
Q Okay. So there are a couple of locations?
A Yes.
Q Ma’am, what is the source of income to the church?
A I don’t understand.
Q Do you tithe to the church?
A You tithe if you have a job where you actually make money. If you’re working and you bring home a paycheck, yes, you are to tithe.
Q What’s your understanding of first tithe? How would you explain it to somebody who wasn’t familiar with it?
A You tithe on your increase, whatever your increase is, what you make with your own hands.
Q And how often do you do that?
A I think most people do it about once a month. Some people probably do it whenever they — you know, if they’re paid weekly, paid monthly, paid, you know, bimonthly.
Q What is second tithe?
A Second tithe is the next tithe, 10 percent also, which we keep ourselves and we put away, and that is what we use when we go to the Feast of Tabernacles that we have money for our hotel rooms, that we have eight days of living, you know, away from home and we have — you know, we eat out and we just — we have a Feast of Tabernacles.
Q Does the church pay for those kind of expenses?
A No, that comes out of our 10 percent, our second title. That’s what the second tithe is for.
Q So pay for it yourself?
A To pay for our —
Q Well, what is third tithe?
A Third tithe is not instituted anymore, it hasn’t been for a while.
Q What is it?
A That was before there were government systems, the third tithe was used to help, say, a widow like me or we have a woman that has children and needs help and so the church gave them money like the Social Services do today.
Q Why does third tithe not happen anymore in your church?
A Because there are many governmental systems out there that fulfill those obligations.
Q And they are supported by what?
A Pardon?
Q How are they funded?
A Through taxes.
Q Taxes.
A And we pay our taxes, yes. Taxes first.
Q Taxes first?
A Yes, taxes first, yeah.
Q Has Mr. Weinland ever talked to you or preached to you about taxes?
A He says you give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s.
Q Well, what does that mean to you in relationship to taxes?
A Well, you pay your taxes. I mean, that’s what is expected of all of us, we pay our taxes. We try to live that way.
Q Is there any exemption for Mr. Weinland to that rule —
A No.
Q — based on your theology?
A No, I believe he pays his taxes.
Q When you send your tithes in to the church, do you receive any type of receipt for them?
A Yes, every three months, I believe it is, we receive a statement with how much we have paid. And like mine would always have a check number on it, the check number and the amount and the total for the end of the year, yes.
Q And did you look at those documents to see if they were accurate?
A Yes, yes, I usually check them according to my checkbook.
Q And are they accurate?
A Yes.
Q Do you know how they’re — who prepares those at the church?
A Audra does, Audra Little.
Q How do you send in your tithings?
A I usually either mail it or if I happen to see Audra at services, I’ll have it in an envelope and just hand it to her.
Q Ma’am, there’s a big binder there or maybe there’s one in front of you that should have some exhibit numbers.
A Uh-huh.
Q We’re looking for Exhibit No. 9c.
Q If I could help you, ma’am. Do you recognize that document?
A Yes, those are my tithing checks — well, mine would be
offering. I don’t tithe, I offer.
Q Why not?
A Because I live on a pension and we don’t tithe on pension and we don’t tithe on Social Security.
Q Well, what’s the nature of offering as opposed to tithing?
A It’s a freewill offering. We offer unto God as we feel we’ve been blessed.
Q There’s no direction of percentage or anything like that?
A No. No.
Q Whatever you feel how blessed you are?
A Yes.

MR. MCBRIDE: Your Honor, I ask that Government’s Exhibit No. 9c be admitted.
MR. CLINE: No objection.
THE COURT: Exhibit 9c will be admitted and you may display it.
MR. MCBRIDE: Thank you, ma’am.

Q Ma’am, would you just take a look at this document here? Just to confirm, is this one of your tithing records?
A Yes.
Q It comes to you from the church?
A Yes.
Q And what do you do with this document?
A At the end of the year, I usually claim it on my taxes, exemption.
Q As a —
A Charity, yes — or, no. I’m not sure what it’s called on the taxes.
Q But it’s something you can take from your taxes?
A Yes. Yes.

MR. MCBRIDE: Thank you, Your Honor. Those are all the questions I have of the witness.
THE COURT: All right. Thank you.
Mr. Cline, any questions?
MR. CLINE: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: You may proceed.

Q Ms. Kautz, good morning.
A Good morning.
Q My name is John Cline and I represent Mr. Weinland. You and I haven’t met before, have we?
A No, we haven’t.
Q All right. You were asked a bunch of questions about some of your spiritual or religious beliefs. Do you recall that?
A Uh-huh.
Q Does it make you a little uncomfortable to be brought here and asked about your religious beliefs?
A Yeah, it does, because my spiritual beliefs, I don’t ask anybody else to believe them, I don’t question yours and I — personally, I may be wrong, but I don’t see what it has to do with the money I give.
Q All right. I may need to ask you a few more questions just to follow up on what you were asked before, and I apologize for that in advance. Have you been to Mr. Weinland’s home?
A Yes, I have.
Q About how many times have you been there?
A A dozen or so.
Q All right. And can you tell us what brought you there?
A I went there one time to do books, I have — I’ve been to two weddings there, social — just social visits, those kinds of things.
Q You’ve seen the house?
A Uh-huh.
Q Do you have a sense of how Mr. Weinland and Mrs. Weinland live?
A They’re comfortable.
Q Would you say that it’s lavish?
A No. I don’t think so, no.
Q Has Mr. Weinland been to your home?
A Has he what?
Q I’m sorry, I don’t speak very loudly. Has he been to your home?
A Yes, he has, he came over and measured it for me.
Q Did he?
A Yes. Yes.
Q You talked about — you were asked some questions about the role of women in the church and you talked about how men and women in the church stand side by side. Do you remember that?
A Yes. Yes, we do.
Q You’ve observed Mr. and Mrs. Weinland together; is that fair?
A Yes.
Q Would you say that they stand side by side in the work that they do?
A I think it’s the only perfect marriage I have ever seen in my life.
Q And would you say that they — in the church work that they do, that they do it together?
A They do it together. She is his helpmate.
Q You were asked about the governance of the church?
A Uh-huh.
Q The sort of top-down structure, I think that was your phrase?
A Yes.
Q I don’t want you to — take you back through your spiritual beliefs, but is that structure consistent with your spiritual beliefs?
A Yes. Yes, it is. It’s from God to his son to the ministry and I follow Ron as he follows God.
Q And I think you were asked whether Mr. Weinland set the theological tone or rules for the church and I think you said it comes through Ron. Do you remember saying that?
A Yes, it comes through Ron. It’s not of Ron’s doing. It’s not his orders, I mean, these are our beliefs.
Q When you were loaned some money, the $3,000 —
A Uh-huh.
Q — do you remember how that money came to you, in what form?
A You know, I tried to remember that and I cannot remember. I cannot remember, cause right at that time my life was really in a turmoil, I had just moved and I was having terrible, terrible problems, and I cannot remember if Laura gave me a check or because I bank at Fifth Third whether she may have deposited the check into my checking account. I don’t know. I cannot honestly say. I can’t.
Q And was it Laura, as you recall it —
A Yes.
Q — who gave you the check?
A Yes, because I called her up and talked to her and told her
what was happening.
Q Okay. Has Mr. Weinland been a — with Mrs. Weinland’s help, been a good pastor to you?

MR. MCBRIDE: Objection. May we approach, Your Honor?
THE COURT: Yes, you may.
MR. CLINE: You Honor what, Your Honor? I’ll withdraw
the question.
THE COURT: Counsel, come on up, if you would, please.
(Whereupon, the following discussion was had between the
Court and counsel at the bench, out of the hearing of the jury.)
THE COURT: I’m sorry, I’m not sure where we’re going with this, but this seems to be contrary to the order on the motion in limine.
MR. CLINE: That’s why I withdrew the question.
THE COURT: Counsel, you’re certainly aware of the nature of the order, both sides.
MR. CLINE: Yes, and I withdraw it for that reason.
THE COURT: All right. Be careful in the future.
MR. CLINE: Yes, sir.
(Whereupon, the following proceedings continued in open court.)

MR. CLINE: Ms. Kautz, that’s all my questions. Thank you.
THE COURT: The jury will disregard the last question to the witness, it’s not relevant to this proceeding. Ma’am, excuse me.

MR. MCBRIDE: I have more direct, if I could, Judge.
THE COURT: Yes, sir.
MR. MCBRIDE: I’m going to have to do this the old-fashioned way, if I may.
THE COURT: Yes, sir, that’s fine.

Q Ma’am, Mr. Cline asked you whether you had been to the Weinlands’ house; is that correct?
A Yes.
Q And you said you have been there for weddings, for putting the books together, and some other social gatherings.
A Uh-huh.
Q I want to show you a couple of pictures.
A Okay.
Q I want to show you what’s been previously and hastily marked as Government’s Exhibit 80, 81, 82, 83, 84. Would you look at these for me, ma’am? Look at each one, please, and tell me what it appears to be.
A This is front of their home.
Q Are those all pictures of the Weinlands’ house?
A Yes.
Q All right. Are they fair and accurate representations of their house?
A Yeah, uh-huh.

MR. MCBRIDE: Your Honor, I ask those exhibits be admitted.
MR. CLINE: No objection.
MR. MCBRIDE: May I retrieve them, Your Honor, and publish them?
THE COURT: Yes, you may, and while you’re getting those exhibits, you can go and get those if you need those.
MR. MCBRIDE: Thank you.
THE COURT: I will advise the jury that the documents2 just introduced are admitted, they are United States Exhibits 80, 81, 82, 83, and 84. And, Mr. McBride, you can display them to the jury if you wish to do so.
MR. MCBRIDE: I would. Thank you, Your Honor.

Q Ma’am, I know Mr. Cline asked you what you thought of their home. How did you describe it? I forget.
A It’s a very nice home, it is comfortable, but —
Q Yes.
A I have homes in my neighborhood that are bigger than that.
Q Yes, ma’am.
A I mean, I just don’t see that it’s lavish, I think that was the word.
Q That was how Mr. Cline described — asked you whether it was lavish; correct?
A Yes, I think that’s what he asked.
Q Well, let’s take a look at the picture. This is Government Exhibit No. 80. Let me see if I can — what view of the Weinland home is that?
A That is down towards the backyard.
Q When you attended the weddings, were you able to use this backyard area?
A I think some people were down there, but not everybody, most of us stayed out. There was a tent put up by the garage.
Q We’ll look at the garage in a minute. Whose wedding did you attend there, by the way?
A Audra’s wedding. Well, it was like the reception. I think she was married — her father married them privately, but they had like a small reception for the church.
Q Was this before or after they went to Germany? Do you know?
A Before who went to Germany?
Q Audra and her husband.
A It must have been after. No, the wedding had to be before. They wouldn’t have gone to Germany before. It would have to be after.
Q I would like to show you what’s been previously marked — or actually it’s been admitted as Government’s Exhibit 81. Is that also the Weinlands’ home?
A Yes.
Q What view of the Weinland home is that?
A That would be from the front basically.
Q Okay. So this is the front door area here?
A Where?
Q See where I made the dot? Is that kind of the front door there?
A Yes.
Q So the door is recessed behind the stone facade there, brick facade?
A Yes.
Q And this is in the subdivision of Triple Crown; is it not?
A Yes.
Q How would you characterize the subdivision of Triple Crown having been there?
A Very nice.
Q All right. Ma’am, is this the Weinlands’ garage?
A Yes, that’s their garage.
Q I’m going to span out so everybody can see the full size of that. And is that where you — is that where you were able to work on the books, inside the garage?
A No, we worked on the books downstairs in his family room.
Q So this is the first level here?
A Yes.
Q All right. And is that a two-car garage, do you know?
A I believe it’s a two-car, but I don’t think they can get two in there. The same as mine, you can’t get two in.
Q Too crowded?
A Yes.

THE COURT: Is that 82, Mr. McBride?
MR. MCBRIDE: I’m sorry, sir?
THE COURT: It’s 82. I don’t think —
MR. MCBRIDE: I’m sorry, sir, it is 82.
THE COURT: Thank you.

Q I’m just going to slide this over a little bit, because the Elmo is being a little difficult. And then is this like a porch area over here next to the garage?
A A porch area? No, I think that’s where you can pull a car in to park there.
Q Okay.
A It’s parking.
Q And, ma’am, I wanted to show you what’s been entered as Government Exhibit No. 83, that’s another view of the front; correct?
A Yes.
Q Finally, 84, another view of the front; correct?
A Yes.
That’s not showing up very well.
MR. MCBRIDE: Your Honor, those are all the questions I have.
THE COURT: All right. Thank you. Any recross on matters raised on redirect?
MR. CLINE: No, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. Now, ma’am, you may step down. Thank you.

Testimony of Ralph Dowd

Ralph Dowd is False Prophet Ronald Weinland’s traveling senior elder, having followed Ron on his travels extensively on his own nickel.  If I recall correctly he may now have PKG members under him in a geographic area of responsibility.

Ralph has been an elder at some level for a long time, having been ordained while still in WCG. After WCG broke up in 1995 (the apostasy), he was a member of the United Church of God for a time and actually was a member of the board for the the corporation for the local Cincinnnati congregation. Ralph’s son Ed is a UCG minister based in Wichita, KS.

The transcript below is for the cross examination by the defense. Ralph was a government witness and I don’t have a transcript of the government’s direct examination.

Q Good morning, Mr. Dowd.
A Good morning, sir.
Q If you have trouble hearing me —
A Yes, sir, I do, I’ve got a little hearing problem from 40 years working at General Motors.
Q I’ve got the same problem for a different reason, so I’ll try to speak up. Let me start by asking you about church expenses.
A Yes, sir.
Q Is it fair to say that you don’t have personal knowledge of the church’s expenses?
A No, sir, I don’t.
Q At one point you were asked, I think, who decided how to spend the church’s money and I think your answer was that you guessed it was Mr. Weinland, but you didn’t know? Do you recall that answer?
A Yes, sir.
Q Is it fair to say that, again, in terms of your personal knowledge you don’t know how those decisions are made?
A No, sir, I don’t.
Q Okay. You were asked some questions about the structure of the church?
A Yes, sir.
Q Do you recall those questions? And if I understand it right, it’s a — it’s a — what I’ll call a hierarchical structure running from God to Jesus Christ to Mr. Weinland to the evangelists to the elders and to the members; is that a fair summary?
A Yes, sir.
Q Is there a spiritual basis in your view for that structure?
A Yes, sir.
Q Can you explain what that is?
A Well, it’s just — it’s a way of life to us. The Bible tells us how to live and the scripture is there and a person that’s teaching it out of the scriptures is nothing — it’s just a way of life. And that’s what we look forward to, you know. And like it says, that your children can play out in the streets, wild animals will be — like the lion will be eating straw and the child can put his hand in a cobra’s den and won’t be bitten and we won’t have to worry about the pedophiles out there that bother our children or anything like that. It’s just a way of life where God’s government will be in force.
Q Let me ask you this: Do you see anything wrong with the way the church is structured?
A No, sir, I don’t.
Q You were asked — you testified I think that as a senior elder you’re not involved with church finances; correct?
A No, sir.
Q Do you see anything wrong with that?
A No, sir. It’s — once I write the check and send it in, that’s God’s money and whoever gets it, that’s their responsibility before God.
Q You were asked whether there’s a board of directors at the Church of God – PKG. Do you remember that question?
A Yes, sir.
Q And I take it there’s not, there’s not a board of directors?
A Not to my knowledge.
Q Do you see anything wrong with that —
A No, sir.
Q — as a senior elder?
A No, sir.
Q Is it consistent with your spiritual beliefs?
A Yes, sir.
Q You were asked whether there’s a finance committee at the Church of God – PKG. Do you recall that question?
A Yes, sir.
Q As a senior elder — and I take it the answer is not to your knowledge?
A Right.
Q As a senior elder of the church, do you see anything wrong with the fact that there’s not a finance committee?
A No, sir.
Q You were asked I think if you wanted to know something about the church finances who you would ask. Do you remember that question?
A Yes, sir.
Q And I think you said you would ask Mr. Weinland; right?
A Yes, sir.
Q Have you asked Mr. Weinland for any —
A No, sir.
Q — church information?
A I don’t think it’s any of my business, it’s his responsibility.
Q All right. So you’ve never made that inquiry to him —
A No, sir.
Q Now, you were asked some questions about a Swiss bank account? Do you remember —
A Yes, sir.
Q — those questions? And I think you testified that some years ago Mr. Weinland in a sermon mentioned to the church that he intended to put some of the church’s money in that Swiss bank — in a Swiss bank account; right?
A Yes, sir.
Q Do you recall that? Now, was it your understanding, as an elder in the church at the time, that the money that was going to be in the Swiss bank account was the church’s money?
A Yes, sir.
Q And that it was going to be held in that bank account for the benefit of the church?
A Yes, sir, because banks in America was falling, the government was baling them out, AIG was going under, and it was — the euro at that time was worth a lot more money than the United States and if the banks and stuff failed in the United States, then we would have something to keep the work going on.
Q The work of the church?
A Yes.
Q And did it matter to you, as an elder in the church, whose name actually appeared on that bank account?
A No, sir.
Q It was your understanding that that was the church’s money regardless of whose name was on the account; is that fair?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you have any concern as an elder with Mr. Weinland putting the church’s money in a Swiss bank account?
A No, sir, I trusted him fully.
Q Did you think that was some kind of a misuse of the church’s money?
A No, sir.
Q All right. You were asked some questions about diamonds and — diamonds and gold and that kind of thing. Do you remember those questions?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you have an understanding in the 2004 to 2008 period that the Weinlands were acquiring diamonds and valuable metal like that?
A I wasn’t sure of the metal, but I know that there was some diamonds bought, because back in the depression, back in the ’30s, diamonds kept their value of all things. So it was used — that in case we needed to barter or to keep the church afloat, we could sell the diamonds.
Q Was it any kind of a secret within the church that Mr. Weinland was acquiring diamonds on behalf of the church?
A Not to my knowledge.
Q You knew about it; right?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you hear Mr. Weinland talk about it?
A He might have mentioned it, but I don’t know other than that.
Q All right. But as an elder of the church, you were aware that diamonds were being bought on behalf of the church; is that fair?
A Yes, sir. I even bought a few.
Q Did you have any concern about the church acquiring diamonds?
A No, sir.
Q Did you think that was any kind of a misuse of the church’s money?
A No, sir, because like I said, back in the depression diamonds was the only thing that kept its value up, you know, and the dollar was no good, you know. I know apples was five cents apiece and it was hard to come by five cents. But diamonds, to my knowledge through my father, they said that itkept its value.
MR. CLINE: All right. Thank you, sir. That’s all my questions.
THE WITNESS: You’re welcome, sir.

THE COURT: Mr. Nasson, any redirect of this witness?
MR. NASSON: Yes, sir.
Q Mr. Dowd, you had just told Mr. Cline that your understanding was that the church put the money in — that Mr. Weinland put the church’s money in Swiss bank accounts around 2002 because of possible bank failures?
A Yes, sir. Well, the economy of the United States was going down, people was losing their jobs and banks failing, insurance companies failing, investment firms.
Q You named AIG as one of those companies, sir?
A Yes, sir, because I had — I was involved with them.
Q Do you know whether the church has left this money over in Switzerland or whether they brought it back?
A Yes, sir, I believe they brought it back for the books.
Q When did they bring it back to use for the books?
A I don’t have that information.
Q Well, were the books published around — was the second book published around 2006 or so?
A I believe so.
Q Okay. So is it fair to say that the money was brought back from Switzerland — to your knowledge, the money was brought back from Switzerland around 2006?
A I don’t know when it was brought back, sir.
Q But it was brought back for the publication of the books?
A Yes, sir.
Q Okay. Was there any discussion within the church about moving money back to Switzerland when the U.S. economy began to fail in 2008 and 2009?
A Not to my knowledge. I know it was used for advertising for the books and stuff.
Q So the money was being used for advertising for the books around that time?
A Yes, sir.
Q So when AIG and Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and there
was the big bailout and the great recession around late 2008 into 2009, did Mr. Weinland say, we should move money back to Switzerland because the economy is failing?
A I never heard him say that, sir.
Q Thank you, sir. You also told Mr. Cline that you were aware that the church purchased — the church said — Mr. Weinland told you that the church was going to purchase some diamonds in preparation for end times; is that accurate?
A I know they bought diamonds. I don’t know if it was announced that they was going to buy them or not, but —
Q How do you know they bought diamonds, sir?
A I guess more hearsay and seeing them, you know.
Q Where did you see the diamonds, sir?
A Mrs. Weinland had them on her finger.
Q Oh, she wore them as jewelry?
A Yes, in case of traveling, if it was needed, she could sell them for the work if she was — if they was stuck over wherever they traveled.
Q So the diamonds that you were aware of were not loose stones, but were actually pieces of jewelry that Mrs. Weinland wore?
A As far as I know, yes. I don’t know of any loose stones.
Q Do you know who paid for those diamonds, sir?
A No, sir.
Q Was it your understanding that the church was buying those
diamonds to be used for the church?
A I don’t know. I can’t say.
Q Okay. And you had testified in response to Mr. Cline’s questioning that you had purchased some diamonds as well; is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you purchase these or did the church buy them for you?
A No, sir, I bought them.
Q And did you seek reimbursement from the church for the diamonds?
A No, sir.
Q Why not?
A Because they’re mine. It’s just like I bought one for my 25th anniversary, I bought one for my 50th anniversary, and I bought one when my wife passed away.
MR. NASSON: Thank you, sir.
Nothing further, Your Honor.

MR. CLINE: May I ask one more, Your Honor?
THE COURT: Yes, sir.
Q The diamonds that we were talking about that you saw with Mrs. Weinland —
A Yes, sir.
Q — your understanding is that those were for the use of the church; is that fair?
A What’s that, sir?
Q Your understanding that the diamonds you saw with Mrs. Weinland were for church work, for the use of the church?
A Yes, sir.
MR. CLINE: All right. That’s it, Your Honor. Thank you.Thank you, sir.
THE COURT: Anything else of this witness?
MR. NASSON: No, sir.
THE COURT: Thank you. Mr. Dowd, you may step down, sir.

Testimony of Joyce Garrett

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.
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.
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.
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.

After Midnight

False Prophet Ronald Weinland is switching back to sheriffing mode as, since he mentioned, he may not have much time to tend the flock unless Judge Reeves decides to go lightly on him.  Ron did not go lightly on a “long-time” elder and another who were disfellowshipped.  On the other hand, the remaining flavor aid drinkers in an area decimated by departures (maybe New Zealand) is happy to get “cleaned up of loose members”.

Ron reminisced about the departure (but not by name) of Benjamin Ikwueme.  Ron was jealous of Benjamin’s big screen TV and sound system and was particularly offended by paintings that were gifts.  Seems Benjamin did not show love to the Ron god by giving a holy day offering so Laura could buy artwork and knick-knacks for God’s home.

Others are “falling asleep” by not saving second tithe.  Some have even done worse, cutting off the love of their first tithes around the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Ron continued on his recycling of symbols.  Seems we are late into the night, the Night to be Much Observed.  Ron mined the headlines looking for signs of the Fifth Trumpet, which will blow when the sun comes up.   And Ron promises yet more “carrots”, seems we can look forward to some new interpretation of the 430 years prophecy.

Only two more sermons before Ron’s sentencing.  Wonder if he’s building up a bank of recorded sermons.  Or maybe we’ll get to listen to his hand-picked evangelists.


Black Hearted Ron and the Four Buckets

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

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.