Rev. Matthews to Spend 15 Months in Federal Prison

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CLEVELAND—A senior pastor at one of Cleveland’s most well known churches will be spending the next 15 months in a federal prison after being sentenced for six federal tax charges.

Rev. C. Jay Matthews, 58, of Solon, received the sentence in U.S. District Court in Cleveland on Wednesday, according to Mike Tobin with the U.S. Attorney Northern District of Ohio.

Matthews, a senior pastor at the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church on Woodland Avenue, entered a guilty plea to the tax charges in mid-September after federal prosecutors proved that the reverend collected income and social security taxes from church employees but never paid the IRS.

Federal prosecutors say Matthews transferred more than $200,000 to an account for his personal use. He faced up to two years in prison at sentencing.

Tobin says that Matthews has asked that his sentence be served at the nearest federal penitentiary in Morgantown, West Virginia.

According to Tobin, the 15 month sentence was slightly less than the pre-agreement sentencing terms of 18 to 24 months. The sentence was varied down slightly due to work Matthews has performed in the community after his guilty plea.