More than five years after she was sent to federal prison for crimes related to tax evasion, Harriet Porter-Jinwright, who once co-pastored a Charlotte church along with her husband, has been released to a halfway house near Raleigh.
Jinwright, 57, was released Aug. 18 after serving five years, three months and 29 days at a federal prison camp for women in Alderson, West Virginia. She is currently at a facility overseen by the Raleigh Residential Reentry Management Office. Her final release date is set for Feb. 8, 2017, according to the Bureau of Prisons website.
Jinwright was sentenced to serve six years and eight months after she and her husband, Anthony Jinwright, were convicted on multiple counts in May 2010.
Witnesses told of how the couple, who also owned one of Charlotte’s leading mortuary companies, leased luxury cars – BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, Lexuses and a Bentley – often at the expense of Greater Salem Church, which was struggling to pay its bills. (The church was later forced to restructure its debts in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.)
Court documents revealed that in a single year – 2007 — some of the Jinwrights’ expenditures included: about $178,000 for eight vehicles, $4,000 for car wash expenses, $311,000 for two homes, $4,000 in lawn care, nearly $3,000 for Time Warner Cable and DirecTV, and more than $4,000 for house-cleaning expenses.
Witnesses testified that the Jinwrights also routinely collected “love offerings” from Greater Salem’s members, sometimes taking the cash home in bags. In one incident noted in court, the couple flew to Las Vegas for a personal vacation and took along the church’s credit card.
Much of that money went unreported as income on the Jinwrights’ tax returns, the government alleged.
According to an IRS agent who testified, the Jinwrights failed to report more than $2.3 million in income between 1991 and 2008. Based on those calculations, the agent said, the couple failed to pay $1.4 million in state and federal taxes.
A New Ministry
In addition to prison time, the Jinwrights were ordered to serve three years probation upon their release and to pay $1.2 million to the federal government.
For his role in the fraud and conspiracy, Anthony Jinwright, 59, was sentenced to eight years and nine months in federal prison. He was taken into custody immediately after conviction and is serving his sentence at the McDowell federal prison in West Virginia. His final release date is set Dec. 15, 2017.
Under federal law, the Jinwrights were required to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences behind bars before they could be eligible for parole.
Shortly after their convictions, the couple founded a new Charlotte ministry — The Gathering at Pneuma Life Center – and appointed “interim” leaders to guide the ministry while they were away in prison.
In a Facebook post dated Aug. 21, Pneuma Life Center celebrated Harriet Jinwright’s release from prison with the message “#HETURNEDIT #WEWON #VICTORY #ALJ #HPJ #PNEUMALIFE #PNEUMAROCKS.”