Internet minister's lifestyle takes center stage at tax evasion trial
COVINGTON, Ky. — Federal prosecutors say an Internet evangelist based in northern Kentucky lived a lavish lifestyle off donations from followers from around the world and didn't pay taxes on much of the money.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McBride told jurors in federal court in Covington on Monday that Ronald Weinland used credit cards to have his ministry, the Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God, pay for more than $500,000 in personal expenses.
The Kentucky Enquirer reported that Weinland's attorney, Robert Webb, said the charges are erroneous because federal agents misunderstand Weinland's ministry. Webb said the group believes that society is in its "final days" and the U.S. financial system will collapse before Jesus Christ returns.
Weinland is charged with not paying $357,065 in taxes from 2004 through 2008.