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Church Pastor Faces Criminal Charges for Tax Evasion

The head of two churches in Charlotte, N.C. has been accused of evading hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes – though he reportedly continued to spend exorbitant amounts of money on vacations and luxury cars.

Among the vehicles was a $175,000 Bentley GT, which was leased in his name from 2005 to 2008.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Bishop Anthony L. Jinwright was indicted on 14 criminal counts of breaking tax law. The charges included filing false tax returns, tax evasion, mail fraud and making false statements to federal agents.

Jinwright was also responsible for his wife’s taxes, though no charges have yet been brought against her.

The Indictment

According to the indictment, Jinwright and his wife’s expenses were too great for the income listed on their joint tax returns from 2001-2006, and the court document stated that the “defendant accumulated a number of luxury assets and enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle which far exceeded his reported taxable income for those years,” the Charlotte Observer reported.

Jinwright has not yet hired a criminal defense attorney to assist him with this case.

The Crime

Jinwright allegedly neglected to report $875,000 in taxable income for himself and his wife, Harriet Porter-Jinwright, according to the 16-page indictment. The document also stated that the pastor allegedly owes between $200,000 and $400,000 in unpaid income taxes at both federal and state levels.

The Charlotte Observer reported that the indictment also details salary and reimbursements of $3.1 million for Jinwright from the church from 2001-2006.

Additionally, the document lists more than $400,000 in income from speaking engagements and sales of Jinwright’s book, “Rise Up: Break Free into Anointed Living.”

Jinwright’s personal expenditures include $198,000 of car lease payments from 2001 to the present, according to the indictment. The vehicles listed included a Maybach 57 – a luxury sedan with a 550-horsepower engine that sells for almost $250,000 – as well as a BMW 530i, a Mercedes-Benz S550V, and five different Lexus vehicles.


Jinwright and his wife also own funeral homes throughout the greater Charlotte area, and the church Web site advertises his radio show – “The Wright Word” – which airs Sunday mornings.

Bishop Alan Porter, the Greater Salem City of God’s executive pastor, was approached by a Charlotte Observer reported seeking an interview with Jinwright, whose Lexus SUV sporting vanity license plates was parked outside the church. However, Porter said the pastor was unavailable for an interview about the charges against him.

“We have no comment at this time,” Porter said, adding: “Trust in God,” the Charlotte Observer reported.

The two churches lead by Jinwright are Greater Salem City of God in west Charlotte and Greater Salem at the Lake in Cornelius. Together their congregations equal around 2,000 people, according to an official from the office at the Greater Salem City of God.

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