William Todd Coontz
Televangelist convicted of tax evasion, William Todd Coontz (Photo Credit: RockWealth International Ministries website)

Televangelist Jailed for Tax Evasion

By Jackson Elliott

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.

Coontz’s church website also refers to donations as an opportunity to “sow your seed.” In the past, Coontz has claimed that if people send him money, God will bless them.

The Roys Report reached out to RockWealth Ministries but received no comment.

Jackson ElliottJackson 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.

 

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16 thoughts on “Televangelist Jailed for Tax Evasion”

  1. I am thankful that in Canada every church that has charitable status (able to issue tax deductible receipts) has to provide the federal government a yearly audited statement of their finances. In additional every pastor must file a tax return. As a result it is much harder in our country to avoid paying your fair share of taxes.

    1. I think all churches should make public all of their financials but who cares about a “fair share of taxes” as opposed to no longer being able to fleece the innocent sheep, which has lasting effects on their faith?!!!

  2. Apparently Coontz website OMITS Deuteronomy 28: 15-68.

    Deuteronomy 28:1-14 lists FOURTEEN VERSES on the blessings of OBEDIENCE…

    BUT…

    Deuteronomy 28:15-68 lists FIFTY-THREE VERSES on the consequences of DISOBEDIENCE.

    Christians, we cannot take a few verses and create a whole new “Bible.”

    The WHOLE BIBLE is the VERY BREATH and DEPTH of our God.

  3. It would be wise to note that the Mosaic Covenant is no longer the regulating principle for the Christian life. Christ fulfilled that and set it aside. But don’t toss out the Old Testament- we learn so much about God in those ancient stories, songs and narratives.

      1. Arthur Fhardy

        Gordon, by that question I discern that you have excellent taste in musical oddities. Have you perchance tithed at the Prickly Heat Miracle Telethon?

  4. All churches, any God business should be 100% transparent, not requiring NDA’s. Every thing above board. Can’t you just imagine?

  5. All evangelicals and fundamentalist must be assumed to be grifters and frauds. I know. I was one of the morons who trusted and tithed. Every generation new guilt ridden pay to play and theses grifters see them coming. Can’t wait to hear God say to them { I never knew you}. I first figured it out when I listened to Tony Robbins talk and realized he is just pumping me up with good feelings and nothing more. Then oral roberts said if he can’t get 6 million dollars god was going to take him to heaven. To me that sounded like god made a threat. Idiots coughed up 8 million. We as a country are circling the drain But at least tony Robbins is honest in his works. And he actually helps people. The evangelical industrial complex doesn’t practice the same morals. But what can You expect from Christians.

    1. How old are you? This literally sounds like the rantings of a kid or a crotchety turtle – Archie Bunker type. ‘All Evangelicals & Fundamentals are frauds…’, ‘what do you expect from Christians…’ You’ve never been admonished about generalizing, stereotyping, assuming?

      Poorly said. It’s a shame really when so many share in the disappointment. But perhaps the EIC will collapse. Criminals will always be amongst us. Just demand full financial disclosure of any non- profit before dropping a dime.

      Virtually every Christian I know no longer attends a ‘church’ regardless of demographic sector. Home churches are starting up again- a good thing! Most watch televised sermons from well known pastors now with Christ ( whose reputations have not been tarnished). So many options now- another good thing.

      If there are people so foolish as to give to overt grifters, what is that to you? We all know the day of mega-churches losing tax exempt status draws nigh.

      It’s not Christ’s fault He has no shortage of ne’er do-wells in His fan club.

  6. David Parkins

    Well, well, well, Mr. Coontz has finally been nicked. He should think himself fortunate because he’s only been done for not rendering unto Caesar. I wouldn’t like to hazzard a guess as to the penalty for not rendering unto God. I’m praying for him.

    1. Hey David I bet here is the scene. After jail all about forgiveness and changed ways blah blah blah. Example Haggard of CO and Bakker of MO. Then back the old grifters and people are STUPID enough to give them money. Do I forgive??? Sure why not. Do I forget???? Never. Sorry scum you had your chance and you screwed up. And for every scripture someone comes up about forgiveness I’ll match you a scripture where God warns us of wolfs in sheep’s clothing and false profits errr I mean prophets and how to run from them

  7. The principles of Biblical Economics outlined in 1 Timothy 6

    If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a sick craving for controversial questions and disputes about words, from which come envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between people of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it, either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.

  8. According to the article, he calls himself “Dr. Coontz” on the website of his “ministry”.
    If I were a betting man, I’d wager a lot on him not having earned a doctorate. Probably something from a diploma mill and/or something honorary granted by an institution controlled by one of his fellow grifters.
    Presenting with phony academic credentials (like Ravi Z., Kent Hovind [another tax cheat], David Barton, and so many others) should be a huge red flag that the person lacks integrity.

  9. From the Rockwealth Ministries website:…. holds an Honorary Doctor of Ministry Degree from Kingsway University.

  10. How dare you impinge the reputation of these fine men of the cloth? It’s the love of money that is the root of all evil….. the appreciation of money is another thing altogether.

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