SANFORD, Fla., June 2, 2012— -- A day after a judge revoked George Zimmerman's bail status for hiding a stash of money from the court, law enforcement officials say they are in constant contact with him and know his whereabouts as he makes his way to the Seminole County Jail in Sanford, Fla. this weekend.
Less than six weeks ago, George Zimmerman walked out of Seminole County Courthouse a free man on bail, preparing to live the next year or two of his life in hiding as he awaited the beginning of his high profile murder trial for the death of Trayvon Martin.
But a clearly piqued Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Lester ordered him back in jail by Sunday afternoon – a reaction to the surprise evidence introduced by the prosecution showing that Zimmerman held coded telephone conversations with his wife about the many tens of thousands of dollars he'd amassed his PayPal link opened on April 9 – and then told the court he was virtually penniless.
Since his attorney last month waived his right to a speedy trial, Zimmerman could conceivably spend the duration of the trial in isolation for his own security.
"At this time revoke his bond," said Judge Kenneth Lester as court room observers gasped. "Order him to surrender himself within 48 hours."
The prosecution presented at least four jailhouse phone conversations in which George and Shelly Zimmerman were apparently discussing tiny amounts of money, but where allegedly referring to some of the $200,000 supporters had poured into his PayPal account.
At the time of the recordings, Zimmerman had just been recently arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
During one call on April 16, Zimmerman and his wife were taped discussing their bank accounts.
George Zimmerman: In my account do I have at least $100?
Shelly Zimmerman: No
George Zimmerman: How close am I?
Shelly Zimmerman: $8. $8.60
George Zimmerman: Really? So total everything how much are we looking at?
Shelly Zimmerman: Like $155
Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda noted Shelly Zimmerman actually meant $155,000.
He said the couple knew that their conversation was being recorded but that they were speaking in code and knowingly withheld from the court the amount of money brought in from therealgeorgezimmerman.com, the now defunct website set up by the 28-year-old to help fund his defense fund.
Zimmerman set up the site on April 9.
He released his first public comments about his role in the death of Trayvon Martin on it, and in less than 2 weeks the site raised $200,000 in anonymous donations sent via a PayPal link.
Information provided by Zimmerman's attorney a week after he was released on bail showed that the couple had $135,000 in their bank account a day before the April 20 hearing.
In court his wife said she had no idea how much money they received from the site and that they had no money, an argument Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara used in court to help persuade the judge to set bail at $150,000.
The prosecution had requested bail to be set at $1 million.
"I quite frankly from the state position will flat out call it what it is, the defendant's wife lied to the court," said De La Rionda.
The prosecution contended that even though Zimmerman was in jail, he was "intimately involved" in the deposit and transfer of money from the site to various accounts.
During two of the recorded calls, Shelly Zimmerman was speaking with her husband from a Credit Union, and in one of the calls Zimmerman himself, was speaking directly to a Credit Union official.
During another recorded conversation on April 16, prosecutors say the two were discussing how to move forward with bond.
George Zimmerman: If the bond is more than 15, pay the 15. If more than 15 pay 10 percent to the bondsman.
Shelly Zimmerman: You don't want me to pay $100.
George Zimmerman: I don't know.
Shelly Zimmerman: All right just think about it.
George Zimmerman: I will.
Shelly Zimmerman: That's what it's for.
O'Mara said that the couple was not deliberately hiding money, and that it was "more of an innocent misunderstanding than a devious attempt to hide money."
At the time, Zimmerman was hesitant to use a bondsman to secure his release, due to the fear of an outsider knowing his whereabouts.
The Seminole County Sheriff's Office officials said they know the whereabouts of Zimmerman, who is mandated to wear a GPS ankle bracelet 24/7 and that they are in constant contact with him.
Although it is almost a certainty that his attorney will seek to regain his freedom albeit a much higher bond, Zimmerman now faces the prospects of facing the next year or two in protective custody.
Zimmerman's attorney had earlier waived his right to a speedy trial and earlier during the hearing before his bail was addressed had said he didn't expect the trial to begin until sometime during 2013 at the earliest.
Prosecutors said they believe Zimmerman misled his attorney about his financial situation as well as the court.
Along with conversations about their finances, prosecutors also told the Judge that Zimmerman was hiding a second passport from authorities that he acquired shortly after the Martin shooting and had stored in a safety deposit box.
But after his bond he did turn the second passport into his attorney who quickly notified the court. The judge agreed with his attorney, that the second passport, which was never used, was not being hid maliciously.
Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump who looked elated as the judge made his ruling spoke before cameras and said this was the most important development of the case so far.
"We think what just transpired in the court room was very, very important," said Crump. "It was at the crux of the matter in the whole case. Judge Lester finding that he was dishonest is very important because his credibility is the most important thing in this entire case."
No known evidence exists detailing who instigated the confrontation between the two, but the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman could hinge on his assertion that the unarmed teen attacked him. Zimmerman is the only person who knows exactly what happened that night.
Friday's hearing began with the state and prosecution unsuccessfully arguing that releasing more evidence to the public could jeopardize Zimmerman receiving a fair trial and unduly burden witnesses in the case.
The judge sided with the media's claim that Florida's broad public record laws mandated that more evidence be released but said he needed 30 days to figure out how to best to handle the release.