Update: Todd Coontz Is “Shocked” to Find He Spent a Lot of Money on Himself

January 17, 2018

While I was away, I missed some important developments in the saga of “Dr.” Todd Coontz, the South Carolina-based televangelist I have written about previously. I put the “Dr.” in quotations because, although Mr. Coontz uses the honorific, there is no evidence he has a doctorate in any subject–he has an MS in Agriculture from Texas A&M University (Gig ’em, Aggies!).

The preacher lived a life of luxury. But the feds just indicted him on tax fraud.

In case you don’t remember “Dr.” Todd:

Coontz was the minister of Rock Wealth International Ministries from 2010 to 2014, according to the indictment. He authored numerous books on faith and finances, also including “Breaking the Spirit of Debt” and “7 Most Common Money Mistakes   and How To Avoid Them.”

He also operated the for-profit companies Legacy Media and Coontz Investments and Insurance, according to the indictment.

Specifically, “the indictment charges the 50-year-old Coontz with three counts of failure to pay taxes [perhaps that’s the triple favor] and four counts of aiding and assisting in the filing of false tax returns.”

I hadn’t realized he stopped being the “minister” at Rock Wealth in 2014. It seems he has relocated to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he runs the Dominion Family Worship Center. As far as I can tell, he’s still running Rock Wealth, but apparently his title there has changed. But I digress.

Some interesting details in the indictment:

William Todd Coontz enjoyed a life of luxury, federal prosecutors contend, by claiming as business expenses the $1.5 million condo he and his family lived in as their parsonage and the luxury vehicles they drove, including three BMWs, two Ferraris, a Maserati and a Land Rover.

He also claimed a Regal 2500 boat, 400 charges at movie theaters, $228,000 in clothing purchases and $140,000 in meals and other entertainment as business expenses with no proof the expenses were for business, according to a federal criminal bill of indictment returned by a grand jury in Charlotte on Thursday.

He spent $21,000 at designer jewelry store David Yurman and $14,000 at Diamonds Direct jewelry store, the indictment said. …

“This is a classic example of ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’ ” U.S. Attorney Jill Rose said in announcing the charges. “As a minister, Coontz preached about receiving and managing wealth, yet he failed to keep his own finances in order. Coontz will now receive a first-hand lesson in ‘rendering unto Caesar’ that which is due.”

I recognize that prosecutors often employ some rhetorical flourishes when announcing indictments, but I have to disagree with Ms. Rose: As I have noted in previous posts, “Dr.” Todd has been pretty open about why he wants your money and what he’s going to do with it. Despite a few throwaway lines about giving to missionary funds, he basically promises to take your money and pray for you in return. Here’s what you get for a $1,000 donation:

As a treasured Partner, you also share in the anointing and financial mantle on Dr. Todd’s life as he agrees to faithfully pray for you, your family, and your finances on a daily basis.

Again, he gets $1,000 to further his “anointing and financial mantle, which apparently involves cars, boats, jewelry, clothing, and a lot of dinners and movies. You get prayers. One would hope he has enough integrity to say a half-hearted “bless my donors” prayer once in a while, but that might be too much to ask for.

Of course, the good preacher denies any wrongdoing:

Coontz “unequivocally asserts his innocence … and will vigorously defend himself against these charges,” his lawyer, Mark Foster of Charlotte, said in a statement. “Todd Coontz has always endeavored to follow the law and to be a good citizen, father, and minister. He trusted others to manage his finances and taxes for him and was shocked to find out he was under criminal investigation by the IRS.

Blaming the accountants is a time-honored tactic when facing tax-evasion charges, but it doesn’t square with the facts of the case:

The indictment accuses Coontz of a check-cashing scheme involving travel reimbursements for speaking appearances and for book sales.

Coontz regularly traveled to speak at various ministries that generally paid him a speaking fee and his travel expenses. The indictment said Coontz hid income from the IRS by claiming the travel as a business expense while using reimbursements as personal income.

To conceal the payments, Coontz told his travel assistant to have the ministries make the reimbursement checks payable to “Todd Coontz” and to send the checks to his personal address. Coontz then cashed the checks, the indictment said.

Coontz also told his travel assistant to bill the churches for a full fare first-class ticket, although the tickets cost “substantially less,” the indictment said.

He is accused of concealing and cashing 102 checks from 2010 through 2013 for travel reimbursements, speeches and books and other products totaling about $252,000. In 2014, he cashed 32 checks totaling about $105,500 that also were not reflected in his accounting records, the indictment said.

Basically, Coontz was double-dipping: claiming business expenses as a deduction at the same time he was being reimbursed–at an inflated rate–for those same expenses; he then deposited the reimbursement checks in his personal accounts without declaring them as income. Sorry, but he can’t claim to be an expert in finance and investing and then say he’s shocked at illegal activities because “trusted others to manage his finances and taxes for him.”

I’m not shocked, nor should anyone familiar with this smarmy leech. He’ll have his day in court, and he must be presumed innocent by the judge and jury, but if the government has a paper trail for the charges, he may have to live with “the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of others” from a prison cell.

 

 

 

 

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Todd’s Triple Favor?

August 1, 2012

More on our buddy, “Dr” Todd Coontz. In case you don’t know who this guy is, he’s a shameless huckster from South Carolina who preys on the gullible to enrich himself. Here, for example, is what he promises in return for a donation of $1000:

As a treasured Partner, you also share in the anointing and financial mantle on Dr. Todd’s life as he agrees to faithfully pray for you, your family, and your finances on a daily basis.

Elsewhere on his web site he tells us that we can achieve “financial freedom” and he will give us “7 keys to success [sic] investing.” You may ask, how’s that working for the good “doctor”?

“Dr” Todd’s full name is William Todd Coontz, and he resides with his wife, Dana, in Aiken, South Carolina. According to Google Maps, Rockwealth Ministries (Todd’s business) is located at 205 Loudoun Dr. Curiously, another business called Ministries Rockwealth is located at 324 Magnolia Lake Ct. It is a rather nice place. A third business, Coontz Investments and Insurance, is located at 3050 Whiskey Dr. A quick search of Aiken County court records finds the following:

2005: A $35,000 judgment against Todd and Dana Coontz.
2006: A debt-collection judgment against Todd Coontz for $4,184.52
2007: A debt-collection judgment against Todd Coontz for $18,945.81.
2007: A debt-collection judgment against Todd Coontz for an unspecified amount.
2008: A debt-collection judgment against Todd Coontz for $10,019.95.

Now, it is possible that the William Todd Coontz named in these suits isn’t “Dr” Todd Coontz, but W. Todd is the only Coontz I could find in the public records. If, by some remote possibility, this isn’t the good “doctor,” I apologize.

But how ironic is it that the guy who asking money from you so you can get wealthy is himself struggling to pay off debts?

Don’t worry, “Dr” Todd.” I’ll be happy to faithfully pray for you, your family, and your finances on a daily basis. Just send me $1000.


Another Victim

July 25, 2011

On another post, I received the following comment from a reader:

My wife of 51 plus years died of Cancer the day before christmas of 2009. I [had] done everything I could do to get the help she needed, including two trips to the Cancer Treatment centers in Tulsa, and in Eaden Il., 50 miles north of Chicago. I was watching a program on Insp Network, and the speaker this time was a Mike Murdock. I put a $1000.00 [donation] on my debit card. My wife passed away not long after that. They made believe I could get whatever I was praying for, so when my wife died I sent 3 or 4 e-mails and did not get any kind of response from them. So I have really have been burnt. I tried to get my money back, but they didn’t even answer me back. My oldest daughter lives with me now and we only got $10.00 to last to payday. I hope my $1000.00 done some good. My light, phone, and those things may get cut off before I can pay them. Pray for me and my daughter.

These are the kind of people that Todd Coontz and Mike Murdock take advantage of: the poor, the struggling, the sick. Not coincidentally, these are the people Jesus said we were supposed to take care of. That these “ministers” are preying upon such folks ought to tell us who they are working for; it’s not God.

When the rich young ruler asked Jesus, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Jesus told him that, in addition to keeping the commandments, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” Matthew 19:16, 21).

There are so many worthy charities that provide for the poor and the sick. Dr. Todd Coontz and Mike Murdock and their ilk are not poor and definitely are not worthy of anyone’s support. They take from the poor and the sick to enrich themselves in a twisted perversion of the teachings of Jesus. I’m afraid the only “good” that is done by giving to such evil predators is that we provide them with more money to purchase more television time to victimize more people.

They should be ashamed of themselves, though I’m sure they are not.


An Olive Branch for “Dr” Todd Coontz

June 28, 2011

I’ve been kind of hard on Todd Coontz, the ersatz “evangelist, businessman, entrepreneur, television host, financial teacher, philanthropist, best selling [sic] author”; at least “these are the words others use to describe DR. TODD COONTZ.”

As far as I can tell, “Dr” Todd has no doctorate; rather, he has an MS in Agriculture from Texas A&M University (maybe that’s the Aggie equivalent of a doctorate). But no matter. For almost twenty years, our friend Todd has “carefully embraced his lifetime assignment and passion to teach people how to Qualify, Receive, and Manage Wealth according to Deuteronomy 8:18.” I’m left wondering if words mean something different when they are capitalized, but then given the semi-illiterate content on Todd’s web site, I doubt it.

I realize that he is “in tremendous demand as one of the most knowledgeable & dynamic financial teachers of his generation,” so I won’t waste his valuable time by inviting him here for an interview. No, what I propose is much simpler: Given that Todd believes that sowing a faith seed (read: sending him money) will result in blessings untold, I would invite him to put his money where his mouth is, as it were. If he will send me $1000 post-haste, I promise him the following blessings:

1) Divine Protection. I promise that Todd will receive divine protection against his own conscience and will never be troubled by guilt or shame over his greed.
2) Triple Favor. The next time Todd decides to purchase an ice cream cone at Baskin-Robbins, he can order a single scoop, and I’ll pay for two extra scoops. That’s a much more concrete promise than any that Todd makes.
3) Supernatural Increase. I promise Todd that, with every $1000 he sends, God will give him supernatural increase. I’d tell him what that means, but then it wouldn’t be supernatural, would it?
4) Uncommon Health. Seems to me that an overweight guy Todd’s age probably has some health issues (diabetes, perhaps?). I promise him health that is uncommon to non-obese people his age. After all, he will reap what he sows.

So, Todd, if you’re out there, get in touch with me. I promise I’ll put that money to work doing as much of God’s work as you do. What have you got to lose, except $1000?


A Noninvasive Modality

June 10, 2011

Normally, I don’t comment on alternative “healing arts,” but sometimes their practitioners present a perfect combination of absurdity and pretentiousness that begs for a response.

In what amounts to a free advertisement, today’s Provo Daily Herald gives us this article:

Highland Woman Practices Ancient Healing Art

Apparently, one Linda Millington of Highland, Utah, has decided that, of all the “ancient Asian healing arts … the of [sic] art of Jin Shin Jyutsu … works best for her.”

I know some people believe they find relief for their infirmities in Asian healing arts, but I would not go to a healer who described her practice thus:

“It is a noninvasive modality which clears the emotional blockages that may present themselves physically in the body. … It harmonizes the energies throughout the body with the universal pulse.”

Well, that makes sense, doesn’t it?

Then comes this gem:

“She listens to the pulse but not the sound of the blood flowing.”

To clarify, we’re told:

“I listen or feel through my hands for the depth, organ function and texture. … You can tell if the pulse is opened or closed, cold or hot.”

Given that the pulse is the expanding and contracting of the blood vessels, one would expect anyone could tell if the vessels are open or closed, but how is a pulse open or closed? or hot or cold?

Thus far, she hasn’t instilled a lot of confidence in her abilities to do much more than a garden-variety nurse’s assistant. But she presses on. After putting her clients in a relaxing, reclined position, she “places her hands under key points or meridians such as the back of the neck, waist or the shoulder. By listening with her hands she can tell is there is disharmony and seeks to bring it back into harmony. ‘My hands are acting as jumper cables to help the body energies realign,’ she said.”

We’re then treated to a history of this ancient healing art and told of Ms. Millington’s training as a massage therapist and her studies of Jin Shin Jyutsu in Japan and Thailand. “It was like learning a whole new language.” Indeed, one who speaks of noninvasive modalities and realigning the body energies is probably speaking a new language, at least one different from mine.

Up to this point, this woman comes across as merely pretentious and a little silly, but when she veers into dangerous irresponsibility, I figure I should say something:

“If I were to fall and hurt my back the first thing I would do is get to a Jin Shin Jitsu practitioner. … The sooner the better. It can’t hurt and it can get the spinal fluids moving again. Of course you have to use common sense.”

Um, yes, it can hurt to take an injured person to an ancient healing arts practitioner instead of the emergency room. I know, she said, “Of course you have to use common sense.” Given that she believes that she can clear emotional blockages by listening to the universal pulse with her hands, we have some idea of what she considers “common sense.”

The Herald is every bit as irresponsible as she is for printing this stuff. Would they advise their readers to head to a Benny Hinn or Todd Coontz revival–or even to get an LDS priesthood blessing–instead of the ER? Most likely not, but here they are telling people with back injuries(!) to go to someone who can get their spinal fluids moving.

To quote Tim Minchin:

“You know what they call ‘alternative medicine’ that’s been proved to work? Medicine.”