ORLANDO, Fla. — 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