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Accused Cult Leader Earned $850,000

Children are a large part of the religious sect, which boasts almost 200 members

The Associated Press/January 20, 2004
By Wayne Crenshaw

Brunswick, Ga. -- Cult leader Malachi York earned more than $850,000 from 1996 to 2001 while hundreds of his followers worked for free on York's Egyptian-styled compound in rural Georgia.

 

York's accountant showed copies of federal tax returns filed by the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors leader in U.S. District Court on Monday as York's child molestation and racketeering trial entered its third week.

York's returns were shown to the jury as part of his defense to show York, 58, had been paying federal income taxes. In addition to molesting children, prosecutors say, York illegally tried to conceal his finances by evading reporting requirements for large bank deposits.

Tax returns from 1996 to 2001 showed York grossed $5.9 million from his quasi-religious ministries, book stores and three rental properties in Atlanta, Macon, and in Philadelphia.

After expenses, York reported a net taxable income of $857,236 during the six-year period and paid $303,746 in federal income tax. York never claimed tax exemptions for religious or nonprofit purposes.

"We considered everything (to be) for-profit and the client paid taxes on his profit every year," Neil Dukoff, York's accountant, testified after showing the returns to the jury.

Meanwhile, York's followers who lived on the 400-acre Nuwaubian compound in Putnam County worked for the cult leader for free.

Several Nuwaubian members testified previously they worked as carpenters and security guards on the compound or in an office set aside to publish York's religious books and other writings. Children have testified they would sometimes work 12-hour days packing soap and incense sold by the Nuwaubians.

Nuwaubian members said they never asked for payment and York provided them with food, clothing and homes in exchange for their work. York reported paying no wages on his tax returns.

York faces 13 federal counts of child molestation and racketeering. Prosecutors have had 13 witnesses testify that York molested them, while five alleged victims have testified the assaults never happened.

On Monday, the mother of one of York's alleged victims told the jury her teenage daughter lied when she said York had sex with her.

The girl left the Nuwaubian compound in 2001 when she was 15. Her mother stayed and still lives there. The mother said her daughter and others who testified against York "are conspirators and they're after money."

"The day that she left, she went down to say goodbye to Malachi York," the mother said. The daughter said York had "wished her well and told her to be safe," the woman said. "If he was a molester, she wouldn't have gone down there to say goodbye."

 

Muhammad Vasser, 17, told jurors another of York's accusers, a teenage boy, told him at a party last year the cult leader never molested him.

"We just asked him, `We heard you're speaking against Malachi York,"' said Vasser, who came to the Nuwaubian compound in 1993. "And he said, `No, no, it wasn't me. My mother pressured me to do it."

An Atlanta gynecologist also testified as an expert in York's defense, saying medical examinations conducted in 2002 on several alleged victims were insufficient to determine they had been molested.

The expert, Dr. Frederick Bright, also acknowledged he lived on the Nuwaubian compound from 1997 to 1999 and still considers York his "teacher."

"I am giving objective opinions completely," Bright said when prosecutors questioned him about his loyalty to York.

Assistant prosecutor Stephanie Thacker showed jurors a copy of Bright's application to join York's group. In it he wrote: "I have tremendous respect and love for the Master Teacher of our Day and Time."

Bright said "Master Teacher" was a reference to York.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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