WICHITA — The securities fraud trial of Wild West World founder Thomas Etheredge saw its first testimony of an investor in the failed theme park.
Angel Dillard was called as a prosecution witness shortly before the noon break today and continued to testify this afternoon. She and her husband, Robert, a Wichita physician, invested $200,000 in the park in July 2006.
She said they first met the Etheredges in late 2003 or early 2004 when Etheredge and his wife, Cheryl, began attending church with them at Immanuel Baptist Church.
Thomas Etheredge is charged with nine counts of misleading private investors as he struggled to raise money from early 2005 through 2007 to complete the Wild West World theme park in Park City.
Earlier in the day, the accountant in charge of Wild West World's finances continued testifying.
Defense counsel Steve Joseph spent most of this morning cross-examining Gary Hamilton, an accountant who did contract work for the Etheredges and their businesses and later served as chief financial officer for Wild West World.
Much of the questioning focused on a $1.1 million loss sustained by the theme park in 2006 and how it related to taxes owed by Thomas and Cheryl Etheredge in 2005. The $285,000 in taxes owed — including penalties and interest — is a key issue being raised by the prosecution in contending information was withheld from investors.