Poor Little Millionaire: Sweat Lodge Guru Can't Make Bail Despite Potential Millions in Holdings

(Yavapai County Sheriff)
CAMP VERDE, Ariz. Defense attorneys for James Arthur Ray, the motivational speaker who presided over a sweat lodge ceremony that left three people dead last October, say that the guru can't make the $5 million dollar bail set by the court. They claim that legal fees related to the three manslaughter charges against him and other debts have diminished Ray's fortune.

Photo: Publicity Photo of James Arhtur Ray

PICTURES: Sweat Lodge Deaths

Not so, says the government. Richard Echols, an accounting fraud examiner, testified yesterday in Camp Verde, south of Sedona, that Ray is worth a "conservative" $2.4 million, a figure that includes $500,000 in trust funds, $240,000 in retirement accounts, equity in properties, and $1.5 million in stock value in a company Ray created in 2009 to buy a Beverly Hills mansion.

Photo: Booking Photo of James Arthur Ray

PICTURES: Sweat Lodge Deaths

Echols also said that Ray moved money around from several different bank accounts shortly after the deaths for which he's being tried. That money was not included in Echols's assessment of Ray's worth, but he said Ray had significant legal fees and may have set a large amount of money aside for them.

Ray has been in jail for three weeks. His attorneys would like to see his bail lowered or even dropped completely. They say he isn't a flight risk.

Three people died at Ray's "Spiritual Warrior" retreat in Sedona, after entering Ray's version of the traditional Native American sweat lodge ceremony. Many participants have said that Ray chided them for wanting to leave, even as people were vomiting, getting burned by hot rocks and lying unconscious on the ground. If convicted, Ray faces as little as probation or as much as 12 1/2 years per count.

PICTURES: Sweat Lodge Deaths

February 19, 2010 - James Arthur Ray Deadly Sweat Lodge Ceremony Netted $500K, But He Can't Make Bond, Lawyers Say
December 29, 2009 - Sweat Lodge Guru James Arthur Ray Ignored Broken Bones, More, Leading Up To 3 Deaths, Say Court Docs
October 26, 2009 - Sweat Lodge Guru James Arthur Ray: From Poor Childhood to Self-Help Millionaire
October 26, 2009 - Sweat-Lodge Deaths Won't Stop James Arthur Ray, No Mention of $9,000 Per Person Pricetag
October 23, 2009 - Sweat Lodge Hero? Victim May Have Saved Woman Before Dying, Says Participant Beverley Bunn
October 21, 2009 - Sweat Lodge Survivor Beverley Bunn Says James Arthur Ray Played God Before Deadly Ending
October 18, 2009 - Third Death from Sweat Lodge Ceremony Led by James Arthur Ray
October 16, 2009 - Self-Help Guru James Arthur Ray in Crosshairs of Angel Valley Sweat Lodge Homicide Investigation
October 15, 2009 - Desperate 911 Call: First Glimpse Into Angel Valley Sweat Lodge Deaths
October 13, 2009 - Angel Valley Sweat Lodge Deaths: Owner Didn't Have Permits