BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Buffalo pastor has pleaded guilty to not reporting almost $400,000 on his tax returns.
76-year-old Richard Stenhouse received that money in salary payments from the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church from 2014 to 2018. The internal revenue service estimates the taxes due for these years is almost $96,000.
Stenhouse once sat on the Buffalo Control Board and spent 24 years serving Bethel AME Church on Michigan Avenue, before retiring last June.
According to the nine page plea agreement, Stenhouse ‘willfully submitted the return knowing that it was materially false and with the specific intent of violating tax laws.”
Legal analyst Terry Connors is not involved in the case, but notes that while the plea agreement indicates that defendant’s sentencing range would be a term of imprisonment of 10 to 16 months, it could still could end up being less.
“So they’ll look at things like, for example, have the taxes been paid? Has he made restitution? Has he filed his returns? All of those weigh heavily in the favor of Reverend Stenhouse because he’s done all that. they’ll look at his past record; clean as a whistle, they’ll look at what he’s done within the community,” said Connors. “There definitely is the opportunity for the Reverend to avoid jailtime because the sentencing plea agreement does not bind anyone.”
His sentencing is set for May 18. He could face up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.