FORMER STATE LAWMAKER SENTENCED ON MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGE
Former S.C. Rep. Thad Viers has been sentenced to 37 months in a federal prison and ordered to pay nearly $900,000 in restitution for his role in an insurance scam. Viers was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks on one money laundering count – which he pleaded guilty to back in April.
He will turn himself into U.S. Marshals on Friday to begin his sentence.
Thirteen other charges against Viers were dropped when he entered his plea – all of them related to his dealings with a shady paving contractor who was looking to hide more than $500,000 worth of assets from an insurance company seeking to collect on a $6 million debt.
That contractor, 55-year-old Marlon Davis Weaver, was sentenced to 12 months and one day for his role in the scam – and was ordered to repay $1.2 million. Another co-defendant – Conway, S.C. pastor Archie Larue Evans – got seven years in jail.
Hendricks could have sentenced Viers to ten years behind bars for his role in the conspiracy – which included accepting a retainer check from Weaver and then routing money into other accounts in an effort to conceal assets from the insurance company.
Viers served nearly a decade in the S.C. House of Representatives beginning in 2003. He resigned his seat in March of 2012 prior to being indicted on harassment charges related to his toxic relationship with Candace Bessinger – the granddaughter of South Carolina barbecue magnate Maurice Bessinger. He later pleaded guilty to those charges and served sixty days in jail.
Prior to that, in 2006, Viers pleaded “no contest” to threatening a Columbia, S.C. man who was romantically involved with his first wife.
At the time the harassment charges became public knowledge, Viers was a leading candidate for the South Carolina seventh congressional district seat – and had received the endorsement of S.C. governor Nikki Haley in his campaign.
Viers’ unexpectedly stiff sentence would seem to indicate that he did not cooperate with prosecutors in their investigation of corruption related to the “Coastal Kickback,” a brazen 2009 campaign finance scandal in which hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash were funneled through a fabricated network of corporations to select politicians in exchange for their support of a local tax hike.
Will there ever be justice in that case?
We doubt it …