A jury in California convicted the man who owns the website catholic.org of tax evasion on Wednesday.
Michael Galloway owned and operated the site, which went by Catholic Online, and was accused of using money raised for charities to cover his business and personal expenses.
The website is one of the oldest on the Catholic internet, and hosts links to news, prayers, and other features.
“Mr. Galloway operated Catholic Online which accepted donations for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and 2005 Hurricane Katrina,” said IRS agent Michael T. Batdorf in a press release. “Mr. Galloway used the funds for personal and business expenses; making those donations taxable income.”
Galloway was also accused of deducting personal expenses – including his home utilities – as business expenses, and prosecutors noted he was making mortgage payments on an $850,000 house while usually reporting an income of less than $30,000 a year.
In 2009, Galloway settled a civil lawsuit claiming he wouldn’t release money he collected on behalf of various Catholic organizations, including the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
He put up the catholic.org domain name as collateral to ensure he paid restitution to the non-profits, as well as to an employee he hadn’t paid.
Galloway could face years in prison and a $100,000 fine in his tax evasion case. He will be sentenced on June 18.