ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Rutherfordton business owner and member of Word of Faith Fellowship Church, Marion Kent Covington, pleaded not guilty to a wire fraud charge on Monday.
Covington made his first appearance today in federal court on the charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, which carries a maximum prison term of 30 years and a maximum fine of $1 million.
Diane McKinny, Covington’s bookkeeper at Diverse Corporate Technologies (DCT) and Integrity Marble, pleaded not guilty to the same charge on June 18.
Federal prosecutors accuse Covington and McKinny of obtaining more than six months of government paid labor by the employees collecting unemployment.
Indictments state Covington used his position of authority within his Word of Faith Fellowship church community to coerce employees into working full-time or nearly full-time for the company, even though, according to federal prosecutors, they had officially been laid off and placed on unemployment.
Covington requested a jury trial, which is set for September 4, 2018.