After years of court battles that took his case all the way to the Supreme Court, televangelist William Todd Coontz is going to prison for tax evasion.
Coontz used his group, RockWealth International Ministries, to withhold millions in taxes from the federal government, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of North Carolina. But after being found guilty on April 3, 2019, Coontz spent only one day in jail, before being released while his case was appealed.
Yet on February 22, 2021, the Supreme Court denied Coontz’ final appeal. Coontz now will serve his sentence of five years at minimum-security Penascola Federal Prison Camp for charges of aiding and assisting false tax returns and failing to pay taxes.
The attorney’s office said Coontz’s business expenses included $227,000 in clothing expenses, $140,000 on meals and movie theaters, a $1.5 million condo as a parsonage, three BMWs, two Ferraris, a Maserati, a Land Rover, and a Regal 2500 boat. Coontz reportedly hid these purchases and others by listing them as business assets.
Coontz also over-billed churches he spoke at for travel expenses, and then had churches mail him checks for these expenses, the attorney’s office said.
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In all, Coontz concealed and cashed at least 102 checks for travel reimbursements, speeches, and books, and other products—a grand total of $252,037.99 from 2010 to 2014.
U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. announced that Coontz showed “incredible” and “long term disrespect for the law” as he practiced “relentless” cheating.
In addition to his five-year sentence, the court ordered Coontz to pay $755,669 in restitution, the attorney’s office said.
Despite the conviction, Coontz continues to lead multiple ministries and business, including RockWealth International Ministries, Legacy Media Inc., and Dominion Family Worship Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
He also has written numerous books on finances and faith, including “Please Don’t Repo My Car: How My Financial Life Changed in 24 Hours,” and “Breaking the Spirit of Debt.”
Coontz’s bio at the website for RockWealth Ministries International does not mention his prison sentence, tax fraud accusations, or multiple luxury vehicles.
“Dr. Coontz ministers effectively on the topics of faith, finances, and building people,” the website reads. “As a noted faith teacher and captivating communicator, Dr. Coontz is passionate about the principles of Biblical Economics outlined in the Covenant found in Deuteronomy 28:1-14.”
The passage in Deuteronomy to which the site refers lists blessings that God promised Israel if the people obeyed him. It is followed by a far longer list of curses for disobedience.
The Roys Report reached out to RockWealth Ministries but received no comment.
Jackson Elliott is a Christian journalist trained at Northwestern University. He has worked at The Daily Signal, The Inlander, and The Christian Post, covering topics ranging from D.C. politics to prison ministry. His interests include the Bible, philosophy, theology, Russian literature, and Irish music.