Former Charlotte televangelist found guilty of failing to pay taxes and filing false tax returns

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A federal jury has found former Charlotte preacher Todd Coontz guilty of failing to pay taxes and filing false tax returns.

He had no comment as he left the courthouse Thursday.

Channel 9 began investigating Coontz nearly six years ago when tipsters claimed he was exploiting religion to fill his wallet.

At one time, Coontz lived in a $1 million condominium and owned a Ferrari, Maserati and other expensive cars.

The prosperity gospel televangelist aggressively asked his followers for money and told them that in exchange, they would receive financial miracles from God.

[RELATED: Televangelist with ties to Charlotte indicted after Channel 9 investigation]

At the trial, prosecutors laid out their case, claiming that Coontz was so greedy that he'd fly coach and then ask to be reimbursed for first-class tickets, pocketing the difference.

Coontz's former certified public accountant testified that he fired him as a client because Coontz wouldn't pay himself a salary and file with the IRS.

While prosecutors are focused on what he allegedly took, his defense tried to show that Coontz was quite generous and said he was not trying to deceive the government.

"It wasn't intentional. It was due to a series of miscommunications and misunderstandings, and obviously the jury felt otherwise," said defense attorney Mark Foster.

But in the end, they couldn't convince the jury.

"The evidence was overwhelming," said jury foreman Kenneth Letts.

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