Jailhouse recordings released Monday show that George Zimmerman and his wife talked in code about secretly handling the flood of donations from supporters, even as they posed as broke.
In the calls, Zimmerman repeatedly mentions transfers from “Peter Pan”- clearly code for his PayPal account, where thousands of dollars were appearing.
He gives his wife, Shellie, instructions on how to change bank passwords and answer security questions so she can use the donations to pay off their American Express and Sam’s Club bills. He even tells her to set her phone alarm to help keep up with the volume of transfers.
Based largely on the tapes, Zimmerman’s bail was revoked June 1 and his wife was charged with perjury after prosectors accused them of lying about their finances.
In April, after Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager Zimmerman killed on Feb. 26, became a symbol of racial profiling for some and Zimmerman came to be viewed as a racial martyr by others, more than $200,000 flooded into his PayPal account.
“Ah man, that feels good. That there are people in America that care,” Zimmerman, 28, says on a call recorded April 12, the day after he was arrested.
Shellie, 25, replies,“Yah, they do, trust me....so many people, your site kept crashing. Because people were just trying to give you, you know, words of support and kindness.”
George says,“Wow, that is awesome.”
Bank records also made public Monday in the flood of information releases ordered by the court last week show one transfer of $5,880 that day, followed by seven transfers of $9,900.
The bank records show the couple carefully kept their cash transfers under $10,000 - the threshhold for IRS disclosure - as they emptied the PayPal account.
“Anything that needed to be paid off, I did,” Shellie Zimmerman says on April 17.“I even paid my school."
He replies,“I would say like, leave like, uh, you know, like, a thousand, I guess.”
At a bond hearing on April 20, the Zimmermans claimed to be indigent.
Prosecutors allege the couple had access to at least $130,000 by then.
On his website, Zimmerman said donations would be used for both his living expenses and his legal defense.
George Zimmerman, who has been back behind bars since June 1, is due back in court for a new bond hearing June 29.
The six of 151 jailhouse recordings that were released also capture an exchange in which Zimmerman asked his wife to procure three bulletproof vests - one for each of them and one for their lawyer.
"As uncomfortable as it is, I want you wearing one," he tells his wife.