A religious leader in Vancouver, Washington has a lot of atoning to do for his less-than-spiritual relationship to material things and the lure of filthy lucre.
Until last September, Maximo Garza, 47, was the pastor for Victory Outreach Church of Portland, a non-denominational church which has operated in Portland, Oregon, for more than 15 years. Garza was sentenced to five months in prison for aiding the preparation of a false tax return.
During his plea hearing, Garza admitted he provided false expense invoices which purported to reflect public relations and other services provided by Victory Outreach Church to William Thompson, who was then operating a mail-order divorce service using the name Hallwood Inc.
Thompson used the false invoices to take expense deductions on tax returns filed by Hallwood in order to fraudulently reduce his tax liability. Thompson pled guilty to tax evasion and was sentenced to a prison term in 2007.
Between 2001 and 2003, Garza provided invoices reflecting a total of $735,441 in false business expenses. Thompson agreed to let Garza keep approximately 10% of the expense amounts.