A married couple who have served as co-pastors of a North Carolina church for more than 20 years have been convicted of federal tax charges.
Bishop Anthony Jinwright was taken into custody Monday evening immediately after a jury in Charlotte found him guilty of tax evasion and fraud, The Charlotte Observer reported. His wife, Harriet, was allowed to remain free pending sentencing.
Members of the Greater Salem City of God Church sat in the courtroom through the four-week trial and wept and moaned as the verdicts were delivered at about 8 p.m.
One man cried "Oh no" as the judge ordered Jinwright jailed immediately.
During the trial, prosecutors said the Jinwrights lived it up on church money while the City of God church was having trouble paying its bills. Witnesses included former church officials.
Defense lawyers described the Jinwrights as busy people who were confused about the tax treatment of various types of income. Ed Hinson, Anthony Jinwright's lawyer, described his tax failures as "technical things."
"We respect the love and respect their parishioners have for them," David Brown, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case, said after the verdict. "I hope they recognize that even good people sometimes do bad things."