Calls Show Zimmerman Instructing Wife on Money Transfers

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - June 18, 2012 -

You can see the full phone transcript by clicking on the link above

Jailhouse calls show how the former neighborhood watch leader charged with killing Trayvon Martin instructed his wife to transfer money from bank accounts.

The calls released by prosecutors Monday could play a crucial role in George Zimmerman's second bond hearing next week.

Zimmerman was released on $150,000 bond in April, several days after the calls took place. At his bond hearing, his wife, Shellie, testified that she didn't know how much money had been raised from a website created for his legal defense.

Prosecutors say the calls show George and Shellie Zimmerman knew that roughly $135,000 had been raised by the site.

Shellie Zimmerman was arrested last week on a charge of making a false statement.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

__________________________

Orlando, FL (AP) -

The wife of Trayvon Martin's shooter was charged with perjury Tuesday, accused of lying when she told a judge that the couple had limited funds during a hearing that resulted in her husband being released on $150,000 bond.

Shellie Zimmerman, 25, was released on $1,000 bond on the third-degree felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. George Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the teen's slaying and had been out on bond after the April 20 hearing. However, Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester on June 1 revoked the bond and ordered Zimmerman returned to the Seminole County Jail. In a strongly worded ruling, Lester said the Zimmermans lied about how much money they had.

George Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara has said the couple was confused and fearful when they misled court officials about how much money they had. A call and email to him on Tuesday weren't immediately returned.

Records show Shellie Zimmerman in the days before the hearing transferred $74,000 in eight smaller amounts ranging from $7,500 to $9,990, from her husband's credit union account to hers, according to an arrest affidavit. It also shows that $47,000 was transferred from George Zimmerman's account to his sister's in the days before the bond hearing.

Four days after he was released on bond, Shellie Zimmerman transferred more than $85,500 from her account into her husband's account, the affidavit said. The affidavit also said that jail call records show that George Zimmerman instructed her to "pay off all the bills," including an American Express and Sam's Club card.

A state attorney investigator met with credit union officials and learned that she had control of transfers to and from her husband's account.

Jeffrey Neiman, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice, said cash transactions in excess of $10,000 usually trigger a reporting requirement by the bank to multiple government agencies - including the IRS.

"If Mrs. Zimmerman intentionally structured the financial transactions in a manner to keep the offense under $10,000, not only may she have committed perjury in the state case, but she also may have run afoul of several federal statutes and could face serious federal criminal charges," Neiman wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer, has maintained since the Feb. 26 killing that he shot Martin in self-defense because the unarmed 17-year-old was beating him up after confronting Zimmerman about following him in a gated community outside Orlando.

Zimmerman was arrested 44 days later and at the bond hearing, he took the stand and apologized to Martin's parents.

At the hearing, Shellie Zimmerman testified that the couple, who married in 2007, had limited funds for bail because she was a full-time student and her husband wasn't working. Prosecutors say they actually had then already raised $135,000 in donations from a website George Zimmerman created. They suggested more had been raised since then.

Shellie Zimmerman was asked about the website at the hearing, but she said she didn't know how much money had been raised. Lester set the $150,000 bail and Zimmerman was freed a few days later after posting $15,000 in cash - which is typical.

In bringing a motion to have Zimmerman's bond revoked lead prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda complained "This court was led to believe they didn't have a single penny. It was misleading and I don't know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie."

The judge agreed and ordered Zimmerman returned to jail where he has been since turning himself in on June 3. He didn't perjure himself, but Lester said he knew his wife was lying.

"Does your client get to sit there like a potted plant and lead the court down the primrose path? That's the issue," Lester said in revoking Zimmerman's bond. "He can't sit back and obtain the benefit of a lower bond based upon those material falsehoods."

He has another bond hearing set for June 29.

De la Rionda presented to the judge during the revocation hearing a partial transcript of telephone conversations Zimmerman had with his wife from jail, days before the original bond hearing.

Zimmerman and his wife discussed the amount of money raised from the website, and Zimmerman spoke in code to tell his wife how to make fund transfers, according to the transcript. The code referred to amounts of "$15" in place of "$150,000."

In the arrest affidavit, they also spoke about small amounts when really, prosecutors said, they were referring in code to thousands of dollars that Shellie Zimmerman withdrew from her account to pay the bail bondsman.

---

Associated Press writer Curt Anderson in Miami contributed to this report.


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  • by William Location: San Diego on Jun 13, 2012 at 02:22 PM
    I guess The Ringling Bros Circus is about to begin in Florida, the judge in the Zimmerman is going to release some of the transcript from the case to the Internet so the court of public opinions can come to theirs own conclusion. Here we go again, it don't stop. I thoght Los Angles/ Hollywood was the Entertainment Captial for madness, but Florida, when is the madness going to stop. Some people need to drink some ice water and take a few chill pills.
  • by IJS on Jun 13, 2012 at 12:38 PM
    if you were alive in the 60's then you've expericenced it boo boo
  • by Neo on Jun 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM
    I know where I've seen that face. That's Divine, star of "Pink Flamingos."
  • by Vic on Jun 13, 2012 at 09:57 AM
    She is hot looking....
    • reply
      by Um.... on Jun 13, 2012 at 01:03 PM in reply to Vic
      If you're into that "look"......maybe if she had some more eyebrows?!
  • by LawBidingCitizen Location: Florida on Jun 13, 2012 at 07:56 AM
    Trayvon Martin, an "unarmed" 17-year-old, was shot by a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford Fl and later died from the gun shot wound. The press only wants to show his 4th grade photo and not the "Thug Looking" photos taken months before the incident. Mr Zimmerman was brutualy attack by the troubled youth when he pulled his firearm and deffended himself. Yes the troubled youth was breaking the law by attacking Mr Zimmerman. Could Zimmerman called the Police for a 48 time after the assult took place? We can't answer that question, because we weren't the ones being attacked that night. If more citizens would be trained in use of fire arms, when to use them, and carry them more often, then the crime rate in America might drop down a bit. But the wife should of pled the 5th and let the lawyers fight it out in the circus.
    • reply
      by white guy on Jun 13, 2012 at 08:38 AM in reply to LawBidingCitizen
      i dont really care about this end of the case, however i feel the need to clarify that most arent on Zimm's side because of race, because he was HISPANIC, NOT WHITE. we support him because just because his friends and family thought he was a good guy doesnt mean he wasnt the poster child for a thug. he was up to no good and thought he was going to beat up some older guy and he got shot. period. if hes found not guilty i hope some of his cohorts come to my neighborhood cause they will end up the same way treyboon did.
      • reply
        by tracey on Jun 14, 2012 at 02:45 PM in reply to white guy
        i've never said trayvon martin was a choir boy, he had some issues. however, if someone jumps out of their truck in the dark and accosts me, i'm gonna start swinging, just like he did. i don't know what that person is going to do to me. seems to me, trayvon martin was standing his ground.
    • reply
      by You Lie on Jun 13, 2012 at 08:58 AM in reply to LawBidingCitizen
      Zimmerman is a gub-toting murdering coward who killed a young man for the fun and sport of it all.
      • reply
        by dilligas on Jun 13, 2012 at 07:08 PM in reply to You Lie
        watch it!!!! I may shute yu wit muh gub. I would think of it as sport.
    • reply
      by l on Jun 13, 2012 at 09:38 AM in reply to LawBidingCitizen
      Was you there law biding citzen....no you wasn't!!! zimmeraman was ask not to approach this young man did he abide by the law..NO!!!!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 13, 2012 at 09:38 AM in reply to LawBidingCitizen
      Zimmerman wasn't "brutally attacked" as you put it. He pursued and chased Trayvon after specifically being instructed by a 911 dispatcher not to, so Zimmerman went looking for a fight. This entire situation could have been avoided if not for Zimmerman.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jun 13, 2012 at 12:32 PM in reply to
        Eh...go listen to the entire 911 recording, then come back and post.
    • reply
      by truth on Jun 13, 2012 at 03:27 PM in reply to LawBidingCitizen
      the thug had the gun and shot an unarmed teenager, simple as that, he playing cop started the fight then when he got his but whipped pulled a gun like the lying coward thug he is!!!!!!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jun 13, 2012 at 09:25 PM in reply to truth
        Get a dictionary truth and look up the meaning of the word "thug." You will find it relates to the behavior of someone who robs and beats up people. Gosh! Thug fits Trayvon perfectly. As to lying, when you have jewelry that is not your own that is not only stealing but lying about where it came from. Lying-this would be like Trayvon's mother claiming that Trayvon respected authority figures because his grandfather was a policeman when in fact-Trayvon was suspended 3 times from school, swung at a bus driver and Trayvon was seen beating Zimmerman's head into concrete by eyewitnesses. This is hardly respecting authority or social conventions. No matter what you say on these blogs the real coward was Trayvon who did not have the backbone to take responsibility for his behavior in any setting. The real liars were Trayvon, his parents, Crump and others who ignore reality and are after money on this case. What a shame Trayvon's parents did not put a fraction of this same energy into setting limits for Trayvon and raising him properly. No...these are the same parents who within a short period after their son's death set up the means to secure a trademark to capitalize on their dead son. Deal with reality truth.
  • by Shari Location: Virginia on Jun 13, 2012 at 07:15 AM
    I think this arrest should not have occurred because if she could not state a definite amount in the account at the time of the bond hearing is not a crime. Maybe she were told how much money was in the account after the hearing. The State of Florida is looking more stupid as the people watch this drama unfold. We have been ridiculed for the President's election snafu and now this case. If the judge was setting the bond, the amount should not have been based upon the ability of the inmate to pay, but what is allowed by law. There was a error in judgment and now the judge wants to place the blame on Zimmerman and his wife. This type of behavior has to stop because all of this action will be used in the appeal process if Zimmerman is convicted. Some of the people in this case have withheld relevant information to make the case go a particular way, but one day, they are going to have to answer for their action. In addition, please stop all this talk about slavery and white because this case has nothing to do with the actions of our forefathers. Stick to the actions of today. Technical everybody will be sent to their home lands and the Native Americans will be in the country as they were in 1492.
    • reply
      by ReadTheArticle on Jun 13, 2012 at 07:35 AM in reply to Shari
      "Maybe she were told how much money was in the account after the hearing." Maybe you did not read the article very well. The article clearly states, "Records show Shellie Zimmerman in the days BEFORE the hearing transferred $74,000 in eight smaller amounts ranging from $7,500 to $9,990, from her husband's credit union account to hers, according to an arrest affidavit. It also shows that $47,000 was transferred from George Zimmerman's account to his sister's in the days BEFORE the bond hearing." She not only KNEW how much was in the account BEFORE the hearing, she tried to move it in amounts under $10,000 in an attempt to hide it.
      • reply
        by Mike on Jun 13, 2012 at 09:11 AM in reply to ReadTheArticle
        Of course she didn't read it...she lives in this town
        • reply
          by Nottobeasmartypants...but.... on Jun 13, 2012 at 01:01 PM in reply to Mike
          She is actually from Virginia.
    • reply
      by Micky on Jun 13, 2012 at 08:50 AM in reply to Shari
      What you think, does not matter to that Circuit Judge.I guess that it is OK for anyone to be under oath in a court of law after swearing to tell the truth but end lying just seconds later.You wanna practice law and tell the judge what to do. Shari, take it from this point on,It is no excuse for ignorance of the law...you just showed us all that you don't have knowledge of what you posted.
  • by t on Jun 13, 2012 at 06:19 AM
    Birds of a feather flock together, wife like husband!
  • by Brandon on Jun 13, 2012 at 06:10 AM
    Wow! Its hard to beleive that some of you are my neighbors, coworkers or I share a roadway with you. I wonder if you smile in my face but get home call me names and write things like this?
  • by JENNIFER on Jun 13, 2012 at 05:40 AM
    EVEN THOUGH SHE LOOKS LIKE A KILLER SHE DIDNT KILL TRAVON MARTIN SO THAT SHOULDNT BE IN THE STORY JUST B/C HER HUSBAND IS A MURDER DOESNT MEAN SHE IS LET UP SOME WCTV
    • reply
      by KC on Jun 13, 2012 at 09:39 AM in reply to JENNIFER
      The article didn't say she was a murderer....it says she is a liar, which she and her husband are both guilty of being.
  • by Ugly! on Jun 13, 2012 at 05:30 AM
    Funny if she goes to jail and he goes free. Never happen because he is a killer, but lord is she ugly.
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