Excellent article Swami’s Evil First Assistant: What Makes Sharon Ward Tick?
Ruth writes well.
If Sharon Ward used such a coercive and fake internship to violate basic labor laws and tenant/landlord laws, as well as illegally circumventing IRS laws on paying federal ’employment taxes’ for employees (by calling it a fake internship) — as Ruth’s story suggests — then it’s logical to assume that Sharon Ward used this scheme for other tenants too.
That’s a RICO violation if it happened just twice in any 10 year period.
The duties Ruth described are the duties of a heavily controlled ’employee’ who’s working for specific pay, being credited against her rent, food, and tuition.
Nobody can legally argue that those duties are those of an intern or even a contractor, as there’s way too much ‘control’ being exercised by Sharon Ward.
Ward or her designees told Ruth everything to do each day, and exactly how/when to do it. That’s a textbook ’employee’ according to IRS regulations.
Based on Ruth’s comments, it seems clear that this was purposely designed to be a coercive scheme that circumvents various laws — and some of them are federal laws.
In other words, if Ruth’s story is accurate, this wasn’t just a ‘misunderstanding’ (civil infraction) of various labor/employment laws by Ward or Swami Chetanananda. It was intentional.
If Frank can show just two instances of Ward doing this on behalf of the Swami’s organization (within any 10 year period) —– he should be able to convince the DOJ to investigate the Swami and/or Sharon Ward for RICO violations.
RICO is not time-barred by a typical statute of limitations, like other laws.
That’s how the DOJ cited illegal acts that happened way back in 2005 — to prosecute NXIVM recently.
As long as you can prove that an organization conducted two separate illegal acts within any 10 year period — which violate certain federal laws — then the organization is considered a racketeering enterprise.
Jim Brissette took this photo of Ruth with equipment she used to maintain the ashram property.
Based on what Ruth says, the Swami’s organization received huge benefits by using schemes to evade labor laws and employment tax laws (and possibly other laws) — similar to how NXIVM evaded employment laws by cooking up various ‘schemes’.
The landlord/tenant laws allegedly violated probably aren’t federal laws (so they probably wouldn’t apply to RICO) —- but the coercive ‘fake’ internship and the obvious avoidance of IRS employment taxes probably are covered by RICO.
There could also be other federal laws violated, based on the bogus documents Ruth was asked to sign.
Legally speaking, it doesn’t matter what documents Ruth (or anybody else) signed.
It doesn’t matter if Ruth ‘agreed’ that she was an intern ——- because that carries no legal weight IF the Swami used such documents to circumvent various laws.
In fact, such bogus documents would be part of the ‘fraud’ (if Ruth’s story is true).
For example, if Sharon ever mailed those coercive/bogus documents to anybody using the Post Office, each mailing would represent a separate violation of federal ‘mail fraud’ laws.
Or… If Sharon ever emailed or faxed such coercive/bogus documents to anybody, each email/fax would represent a separate violation of federal ‘wire fraud’ laws.
Frank, at least try to get a RICO investigation started. They deserve it.
Tax fraud itself is not listed as a specific RICO crime — but mail fraud and wire fraud are included.
However, even though tax fraud isn’t a specific RICO crime —- it’s still possible Ward could be investigated for tax fraud, apart from RICO, since she’s probably hired similar people in Gold Beach.
The Swami and his right-hand attorney, Sharon Ward.
She’s probably hired other ‘unpaid interns’ in Gold Beach and had them sign bogus paperwork to claim they are just interns ——- when she’s hiring employees to do the shit-work around the compound, lol.
She’s using the typical playbook of people trying to avoid IRS employer-based taxes —- so I’d be surprised if she suddenly stopped more than six years ago.
Zebras can’t change their stripes.
She’d never survive an IRS audit using such obvious schemes — because the job duties she’s assigning to people like Ruth are way beyond anything an intern would be doing for nearly a decade, many hours per day, of hard work, lol.
The IRS should be contacted here and tipped off.
Tax fraud is not listed as a specific RICO crime — but mail fraud & wire fraud are included.
Keep up the heat, Frank.
If the DOJ goes in there with a microscope —- they’ll probably uncover all kinds of absurd and illegal shit — based on what Ruth is saying.
One more thing…
The Department of Labor has standards for determining if an intern is a paid employee.
Sharon Ward fails these standards, even for a nonprofit organization.
While it’s true that nonprofit/religious organizations are given more leeway to call somebody an unpaid intern (volunteer) — and while they’re allowed to pay a NOMINAL FEE and cover SOME expenses — the fees paid to your unpaid intern (volunteer) should not exceed 20 percent of what it would cost to hire an employee to do the same job. Otherwise, they’ll likely be classified as an employee.
For example… Having Sharon Ward ‘credit’ Ruth’s hours worked against her full room & board is definitely paying her more than a nominal (20 percent) fee.
She also wasn’t a ‘paid intern’ —– since there are strict rules governing that classification.
The fact that Ruth’s job duties (for 8 long years) had nothing to do with ‘religious education’ demonstrates that she was hired to displace a paid groundskeeper & food prep assistant, showing that she’s an employee working for the benefit of Sharon Ward.
Based on what Ruth described, she was basically a hard-working cook and groundskeeper working in exchange for full room & board for 8 long years, with very specific jobs being credited against her room & board ——- while the Swami avoided having to pay federal employer-based taxes, state-based payroll taxes and Workers’ Comp insurance (along with failing to abide by other labor laws too).
The fact that Ruth took a few ‘classes’ while working there doesn’t change the facts.
Sharon Ward is a cheater. She’s human garbage.
Have a nice day.