The lead pastor at a Charlotte church faces more than five years in prison for tax evasion and stealing from his congregation.
The Reverend John Henry Walker was sentenced Friday by a federal judge who also ordered him to pay more than $277,000 in restitution. He was ordered to immediately begin serving a prison term of five years and three months.
Walker pleaded guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud and lying to federal agents. He apologized to the court and his family, but took a shot at former members of Macedonia Baptist Church who he said tried to undermine his leadership.
Prosecutors asked for a longer sentence, saying Walker was an unrepentant thief who used charisma and bullying to get members of his church to help him steal.
But defense lawyers said Walker was a military veteran and a former firefighter who deserved leniency.