By Barbara Liston
ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - George Zimmerman, who is being held on a second-degree murder charge in the February shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, and his wife actively sought to avoid government scrutiny of their financial assets, as contributions poured into Zimmerman's legal defense fund, bank statements showed.
The statements were released on Monday by the Seminole County Circuit Court following the arrest on perjury charges last week of Zimmerman's wife, Shellie Zimmerman.
George Zimmerman's $150,000 bond was revoked and he went back to jail earlier this month after prosecutors said the couple had misled the court about their financial status.
They failed to tell the court about more than $135,000 that donors had contributed to help pay for Zimmerman's legal defense, and Shellie Zimmerman falsely testified at her husband's April 20 bond hearing that the family was broke, prosecutors said.
The bank records, from separate credit union accounts, show Zimmerman and his wife made dozens of transactions between April 11 and April 20 just under the $10,000 limit that triggers government scrutiny under federal anti-money laundering laws.
Some were overlapping, as George transferred a total of $74,000 to Shellie, and Shellie transferred more than $85,500 back to George. All were in amounts between $9,000 and $9,999.
Another $47,000 was transferred to an account held by Zimmerman's sister, who was not named by prosecutors.
Among the transactions were 16 deposits in amounts from $9,000 to $9,990 from a PayPal account opened by George Zimmerman. The account was linked to a now-defunct website set up by Zimmerman to raise donations from supporters.
Anti-money laundering laws prohibit "structuring," which is intentionally making multiple transactions just under the $10,000 limit to avoid federal scrutiny.
Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, did not respond to an inquiry from Reuters about the transactions and other newly released evidence. This included phone calls between the Zimmermans recorded at the jail in which they discuss moving money between accounts in increments under what they referred to as "$10."
However, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said the bank statements further undermined Zimmerman's credibility, which he said would be pivotal at his murder trial.
Zimmerman's own lawyers have acknowledged that he hurt his credibility by claiming to be penniless and misleading the court about his finances.
Zimmerman, 28, claims he shot and killed Martin in self defense after the unarmed black teenager attacked him and slammed his head into the ground in a gated community in the central Florida town of Sanford on February 26.
But Crump, who represents Martin's family, said none of the evidence supports Zimmerman's version of events.
"It is George Zimmerman's credibility that is at issue," Crump told Reuters. He said the bank records and other evidence clearly showed that Zimmerman had conspired with his wife "to execute a scheme to hide money" from the authorities.
(Editing By Tom Brown and Christopher Wilson)