HAWAII — After almost two years of going to trial for bulk cash smuggling charges and being an accessory to a crime, Felina Salinas, the Oahu manager of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ Church, has entered a plea deal with prosecutors — pleading guilty to a lesser charge of making a false statement.
“After almost two years of getting ready to go to trial, going through thousands of documents, which related to some of the witnesses against her, and we were absolutely able to show in my mind, these witnesses were liars. They had a motive to attack the pastor. They had a motive to attack ms. Salinas. The government decided to dismiss both of those charges,” said Attorney Michael Green, Salinas’ counsel.
The pastor Attorney Green was talking about is Apollo Quiboloy, founder of the Philippine mega-church – Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
In February 2018, Salinas and Pastor Quiboloy were boarding a private jet in Oahu ready to depart for the Philippines, when customs and border enforcement agents boarded it and found $350,000 in cash — all in $100 bills stuffed inside socks in a suitcase.
“They had fundraisers that week.”
Salinas, who was the only U.S. citizen on the plane, was arrested after claiming the cash was hers in an effort to protect Quiboloy.
But after a thorough investigation, it was revealed that the suitcase belonged to Quiboloy and that he told his driver not to put it on the plane.
Under the plea deal, Salinas admitted to lying about owning the cash.
“She was allowed to plead guilty when she did the other day to giving a false statement to a federal agent. And the false statement was that the black suitcase was hers.”
Prosecutors have agreed to no more than ninety days with the possibility of straight probation when she is sentenced in October, in comparison to the original charge of 33 to 41 months.