Cleveland pastor Charles Matthews pleads guilty to not paying more than $90,000 in income taxes

CLEVELAND - The pastor of a Cleveland church who was federally charged with not paying more than $90,000 in income taxes has pleaded guilty.

Charles Matthews of Solon entered the plea during a hearing Friday morning in Cleveland. He was the senior pastor of Mount Sinai Baptist Church and Ministries in Cleveland.

He was facing six counts in an information filing earlier this week -- and pleaded guilty to all of those counts. He could face 18 to 24 months in prison when he's sentenced.

Matthews was in charge of two financial accounts at the church – one for the church itself and one for his own use, dubbed a pastor's account.

The information alleged that while Mt. Sinai deducted and collected the required income tax and FICA withholdings from the total taxable wages of its employees, Matthews "willfully failed to report and pay over to the Internal Revenue Service those withheld taxes."

Prosecutors alleged Matthews instead "caused those funds to be used for other purposed including transfers into the pastor's account for his own personal use."

According to the information, Matthews also failed to report and pay the employer's share of FICA taxes.

The total amount prosecutors said Matthews failed to pay between October 2005 and January 2007 was $90,767.43.

According to the church's website, Dr. C. Jay Matthews was named pastor of the church in January 1988.

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