Appeal denied for former Charlotte televangelist convicted of tax evasion

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A former Charlotte televangelist who was convicted of tax evasion lost his appeal Friday.

Last year, a jury convicted Todd Coontz on three counts of willful failure to pay income taxes and four counts of aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns.

He was sentenced to five years in prison.

The Secret Service started looking into Coontz and his Rockwealth Ministries as a result of Channel 9′s investigations.

Coontz promised financial miracles to people who sent money to his ministry.

Channel 9 found he was living in a million-dollar condo and had a Ferrari and Maserati titled in the name of the ministry. Prosecutors said Coontz also had three BMWs, two Ferraris, a Land Rover and a Regal 2500 boat.

Investigators said he also hid his income from the Internal Revenue Service by cashing checks he received from churches and ministries for travel and speaking engagements and then claiming that same travel as business expenses.

On Friday, he argued that the judge and prosecutors showed disdain for his ministry, but the court upheld its ruling and his appeal was denied.

Now, Coontz has to wait for the Board of Prisons to tell him when to report to prison.

A judge said he can serve his time in a prison near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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