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Harriet Jinwright reports to prison

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Nearly a year after her conviction for tax evasion, Harriet Jinwright reported to a federal prison in Alderson, W. Va., Wednesday to begin serving an 80-month sentence.

Her surrender capped a last-ditch effort by the 51-year-old minister to remain free on bond.

Jinwright and her husband, the Rev. Anthony Jinwright, were convicted in May 2010 on multiple counts related to tax evasion. Anthony Jinwright was taken into custody immediately, but Harriet Jinwright was ordered to report by April 30. Her lawyer had told the court she needed time to undergo knee-replacement surgery.

Earlier on Wednesday, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request by Harriet Jinwright to remain free pending an appeal of her conviction. Six days earlier, a similar request was rejected by U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney, who presided over the couple’s five-week trial.

In a two-sentence ruling on April 14, Whitney said Harriet Jinwright had been allowed to remain free because she had health insurance that would pay for her surgery. Now that she has no health insurance, the judge wrote, her motion to remain free was denied.

The appeals court rejected Jinwright’s request without explanation.

According to a Federal Bureau of Prisons website, her projected release date is Feb. 8, 2017.

For more than 30 years, Anthony Jinwright served as senior pastor of Greater Salem Church in West Charlotte, one of the city’s oldest African American congregations. His wife served in recent years as co-pastor.

According to an IRS agent who testified at the couple’s sentencing hearing, the Jinwrights failed to report more than $2.3 million in income between 1991 and 2008. Witnesses also testified that the Jinwrights received luxury cars, trips and “love offerings” from Greater Salem and sometimes took cash home in bags.

Anthony Jinwright, 54, was sentenced to eight years and nine months. He was assigned to the McDowell Federal Correctional Institution in West Virginia, with a projected release date of December 15, 2017.

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October 9, 2015
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