A former state legislator from Myrtle Beach has now been indicted on 14 federal charges after investigators say he helped a business owner illegally hide assets from an insurance company.
In an indictment handed down Thursday, prosecutors charge former Republican State Rep. Thad Viers with 12 counts of engaging in transactions using illegal proceeds, one count of money laundering, and another count of lying to an IRS agent.
The Myrtle Beach Sun-News was first to report on the charges Thursday.
Viers, a former attorney, spent nine years representing Horry County in the Statehouse and even ran for Congress in 2012. However, he dropped out of the GOP primary after he was arrested for harassing an ex-girlfriend. He pleaded guilty to that charge back in January and was sentenced to one year in prison, suspended to 60 days and a year of probation.
The charges revealed Thursday all occurred prior to Viers 2012 arrest (with the exception of the lying charge, which prosecutors say he committed this past March).
The indictment links Viers with contractor Marion Weaver, who owned paving company Weaver Co, Inc. Prosecutors say Weaver defaulted on an Interstate 95 paving contract, requiring Safeco Insurance to pay $6 million on his behalf. Weaver’s contract with Safeco gave the insurance company the right to much of his assets should a default occur.
However, when the insurance company tried to collect, prosecutors say Weaver backdated documents to make it appear he had transferred his interest in a marina and an investment firm. The indictment also states Viers helped Weaver hide his financial assets by withdrawing $524,000 from his law firm’s trust account between February and October 2011. The indictment states Viers knew the money came from Weaver’s unlawful activities. Viers was also accused of working with a third man to help hide Weaver’s assets from September 2009 to October 2011.
At some point, the IRS discovered the fraud and asked Viers about Weaver’s activities in March 2014. The indictment states Viers told the agent that Weaver “never” told him he was attempting to hide assets from Safeco. But, investigators said Weaver not only told Viers, but the legislator was actively helping.
The charges carry a combined maximum sentence of 145 years in prison.