Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jinwrights to be sentenced today

Posted By on Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 9:51 AM

It's been seven months since Anthony and Harriet Jinwright, pastors at Greater Salem Church, were found guilty of several counts each of conspiracy and tax evasion. While he's been in the clink since then, Harriet has remained free. But, today that will probably change. They could both spend decades in prison, but since they're first-time offenders that seems unlikely.

While we await the judge's decision, weigh in over at Here's the question: "Given the crimes of which they were convicted — they were not convicted of any offense related to Greater Salem — what is a reasonable amount of time for the Jinwrights to serve?"

If you're behind and need to catch up on the story, you can do that here.

Of course, the Jinwrights, who also owned two funeral homes, are as famous for living like rock stars as they are for evading their taxes. I've gone through the prosecution's 90,000 pages of evidence, submitted in court, and can tell you that after pages and pages of charges for $5,000 custom tailored suits, trips (to Las Vegas, South Africa, the Bahamas, New York City, Jamaica, Grand Cayman,  etc.), receipts for thousands of dollars in jewelry, car lease applications (for Rolls Royces, Bentleys, a Maybach, BMWs, etc.), and more, the only thing that surprised me was when I'd run across a receipt for something that had anything to do with the church (and there weren't many of those, even on church credit cards).

Meanwhile, Greater Salem Church's debt load was out of control, as evidenced by the recent foreclosure on the church's property.

A friend of Anthony Jinwright's, who's asked that I not use his name, told me Anthony is extremely charismatic and that he was excellent about figuring out what it would take to get people to put donations in the collection plate. What his friend doesn't understand, however, is when and how the Jinwright's started caring more about material possessions than their church or their congregation's relationship with God.

Here's some pre-trial coverage from WCNC:

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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