Mike, on the Ron Weinland False Prophet: Don't Drink the Flavor Aid Served By False Prophets, has calculated the estimated financial fines Weinland may have to pay because of his felony charges. Perhaps the wife, The Second Witness, can hock her massive jewelry collection.
The jurors did not determine a tax loss figure, only that there was a tax loss during each of the years charged and Weinland willfully attempted to evade paying those taxes. During the sentencing phase, the defense lawyers will be looking to reduce the tax deficiency, but the prosecution may be looking to increase it. The burden of proof is not “beyond a reasonable doubt” but rather a less burdensome “preponderance of the evidence”.
To the base offense level of 18, another 2 levels for “sophisticated means”, the Swiss bank accounts, could be added for a total level of 20. For someone like Ron with no prior criminal history, offense level 20 aligned with a sentencing range of 33 to 41 months. Each change of two levels changes the prison term by 6 to 8 months. Since this prison term is longer than one year, Ron cannot get probation or serve his sentence at home or in a halfway house. He’ll have to go to “the big house”. Well actually he’ll probably go to a minimum security camp.
Within a sentencing guideline of 33 to 41 months, 40 months is the most appropriate judgement for a scamming tax cheat who claims to be a prophet of the God of Abraham and an end-time witness of Revelation 11. But with time off for good behavior, only 85% would need to be served. When you consider the length of time for the investigation and obtain the indictment, hardly balances out. The investigation began before the IRS confronted the Two Witnesses on July 2, 2008 and the indictment was returned on Nov 10, 2011, just about 40 months.
Next the fine. An offense level of 20 results in a fine ranging from $7500 to $75000. The government will look at the cost of incarcerating him to determine the fine. For 3 years in prison the cost will probably be closer to $75,000.
Additionally, Weinland will be assessed $100 for each of the 5 counts for which he was found guilty. And he may be required to pay the cost of the trial. Each juror is paid a paltry $40/day. But the first day, there were 50 candidate jurors called. $2000. Then an additional 7 days for 12 jurors and 2 alternates is around another $4000. Then each witness is paid $40/day so Ron will have to pay the fees for his daughter and all his church members to testify. Plus all the other witnesses. Federal courts also pay mileage to their jurors and witnesses.
Then there’s the cost of Ron’s defense. For Ron’s 3 lawyers just to sit through the 8-day trial at say $500/hour is $100,000. And several times that for trial preparation. And the cost of his expert witnesses, such as the forensic accountant who couldn’t stay awake during the trial. In his blog posting of November 26 discussing the indictment, Ron stated: “The Church has a great team of lawyers and an investigator who are vigorously working to defend the Church and myself.” Wait a minute, Ron. The Church was not in legal difficulty, you personally were. Just as you aren’t supposed to wear the $1700 threads paid for by the Church to court on a personal matter, you don’t get to charge your defense to the Church either. Ron, you’re going to have to treat that as income. Your $200,000 annual salary from the Church probably won’t cover the taxes on the cost of your legal defense.
In addition to prison term and fines, Ron will have to pay his back taxes. And probably the usual civil penalties. Indications from the jurors were that Ron continued operating pretty much as before two IRS Special Agents showed up on his doorstep on July 2, 2008 (in the following sermon he talked about attacks by Satan). So Ron is probably way, way behind on his taxes for 2009, 2010, and 2011. I hope that part of the process is to bring him fully in compliance with his taxes including whatever withholding is needed for the legal expenses paid by the church = income.
But PKG members will buy his lame excuses about being persecuted for taking the Silent Witness along or whatever other lame excuses he comes up with. This will be regarded as persecution of the church, never mind that it was really prosecution of a scamming tax cheat.