I don’t know how she does it: it was only six years ago that Oprah Winfrey was touting new age nut Eckhart Tolle as the all time genius of the world. He was her spiritual mentor. Winfrey actually ran podcasts and internet classes with the guy who has since quietly vanished from the spotlight. Now, maybe because she’s in her own personal crisis with her OWN network, Oprah is pushing a new guru. (She still hawks Marianne Williamson.) This guy is named Michael Singer, author of a book called “The Untethered Soul.”
But Michael Singer is indeed better known in his hometown of Alachua, Florida as Mickey Singer. And in 2005 he was indicted in a massive government fraud case against his company Medical Manager Health Systems, which was an offshoot of WebMD. http://www.gainesville.com/article/20051216/LOCAL/212160339 Singer was accused with nine others of inflating Medical Manager Health Systems profits, and of conspiring to launder money.
Two years after the indictment, Singer donated $100,000 of new computer software to the Alachua Police Department. By the time the case was over in 2010, Singer settled with the government by paying a $2.5 million settlement. The government dropped all charges. Singer acknowledged that the accounting practices of his company were illegal but–according to the agreement hammered out between his powerful Washington DC lawyers from Baker Botts and local Florida prosecutors–didn’t know it was taking place at the time. http://tinyurl.com/c9u3y4m
Later, the people actually convicted by the government had their verdicts overturned based on a lapsed statute of limitations. http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100303/articles/3031013
Now Singer will appear on Oprah’s Sunday Soul show this weekend on OWN. After his long adventure with the government, Singer–who was an early software multi-millionaire in the medical systems field–became a guru. He started something called the Temple of the Universe outside of Gainesville, Florida. He has lots of followers, but I’m not sure you could call it an actual cult. Temple of the Universe is registered with the IRS as a religion and has non profit tax status. But they’ve filed no public papers about their finances. They don’t even come up on Charity Navigator. But Singer is selling books and CDs and conducting new age classes and lectures.
Odds are Oprah will not be asking him about all this other stuff on Sunday’s show.