Trial underway for former Charlotte preacher accused of failing to pay taxes, filing false tax returns

Trial underway for former Charlotte preacher accused of failing to pay taxes, filing false tax returns

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The trial is underway for a former Charlotte minister who was indicted for reportedly failing to pay his taxes.

According to prosecutors,Todd Coontz skirted the IRS for years. Federal prosecutors say Coontz allegedly failed to pay taxes and filed false tax returns.

He was the minister of Rock Wealth International Ministries from 2010 to 2014, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Coontz's website states he is a pastor, evangelist, television host, author, humanitarian, philanthropist and a businessman.

From 2000 to 2014, Coontz consistently failed to make timely payments on his taxes and sometimes owed hundreds of thousands of dollars, investigators said. According to the Observer, Coontez under-reported his income on his tax returns "by not including as income payments made by his corporations and ministry for his personal expenses."

Coontz also would allegedly get people to make checks out to him personally for speaking engagements, the Observer reported.

The Observer reported that Coontz "enjoyed a life of luxury" and claimed his $1.5 million condo and his luxury vehicles as business expenses. In addition, he allegedly also claimed a boat, clothing purchases, entertainment purchases and $140,000 in meals as business expenses, the Observer reported.

When announcing the charges in 2017, U.S. Attorney Jill Rose said this case was "a classic example of 'Do as I say, not as I do.'"

"As a minister, Coontz preached about receiving and managing wealth, yet he failed to keep his own finances in order. Coontz will now receive a first-hand lesson in 'rendering unto Caesar' that which is due," Rose said.

The Observer reported that Coontz wrote several books about finances.

Coontz's lawyer, Mark Foster, said he "always endeavored to follow the law and to be a good citizen, father, and minister. He trusted others to manage his finances and taxes for him and was shocked to find out he was under criminal investigation by the IRS," the Observer reported.

"We expect that after hearing all the evidence, a jury will fully vindicate Mr. Coontz by finding him not guilty of all charges," Foster told the Observer in 2017

Now, Coontz lives in Fort Lauderdale and works for Rock Wealth Ministries. He preaches on getting supernatural miracles by donating to his ministry.

He was summoned to appear in court in Charlotte.

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