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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Alamo Sentencing Delayed 2 Weeks : Courts: Lawyers for the evangelist convicted of tax violations request a new date for a longer hearing.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Lawyers for evangelist Tony Alamo on Friday won a two-week delay of his sentencing in Memphis for federal tax violations.

Alamo, 59, is the flamboyant leader of the Holy Alamo Christian Church, which started as a street ministry in the 1960s and earned millions of dollars in later years through communes and businesses. On June 8, he was convicted of falsifying his 1985 income-tax returns and failing to file returns for the next three years.

Alamo’s attorney, Susan James, requested the delay, stating that U.S. District Judge Jon McCalla had scheduled only a few hours for the hearing Friday. James said both sides are expected to present witnesses, and the defense will challenge the prosecution’s pre-sentence report.

“I don’t think we can do it all in one day,” she said.

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The hearing has been rescheduled for Sept. 9.

Alamo, whose real name is Bernie Lazar Hoffman, faces up to six years in prison and a $550,000 fine. Court documents indicate that prosecutors will seek a prison term of 41 to 51 months for Alamo, who remains in custody pending his sentence.

Alamo faces separate charges in Los Angeles County of ordering four men to strike a boy named Jeremiah Miller 140 times with a large paddle in 1988 at the evangelist’s Saugus church. He could receive up to 12 years in prison if convicted of felony child abuse and inflicting corporal injury on a child.

Alamo and his wife, Susan, founded the church in the 1960s, taking young dropouts and drug users off Hollywood streets and providing them with food and shelter. The church prospered in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and its income soared from the sale of glitzy clothing such as rhinestone-studded jackets costing $600.

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