By Paul Gable
The 14 count federal indictment, with a potential 145 years in prison, brought against former state Rep. Thad Viers earlier this week brings several questions to mind.
Twelve of the counts were for what lawyers do every day – remove money from their trust account at the direction of the client.
If all of the withdrawals were made with the intent to hide assets and if Viers knew this as alleged, wouldn’t the 13th count of conspiracy to hide assets cover these transactions?
Maybe the answer to why such a draconian indictment was brought lies with the 14th count – lying to an IRS investigator.
This is, apparently, the same IRS investigator who is involved with the Coastal Kickback investigation of the $324,000 in 2009 campaign donations. The donations allegedly came from a number of cash poor LLC’s and went to Myrtle Beach city council incumbents, the Horry County legislative delegation and former gubernatorial candidate and member of the U.S. House of Representatives Gresham Barrett.
Viers, then a state representative, was the recipient of some of this money and would certainly be in a position to know whether there was a quid pro quo or other strings attached to its receipt.
I have been told by several criminal defense lawyer friends that piling on the counts and potential jail time is a classic federal prosecutor move to attempt to get cooperation from the subject.
With Viers’ client, Marlon Weaver, already having plead guilty to federal charges associated with this investigation, it is unlikely that Weaver is the target of information the feds would want from Viers.
Indictments like this rarely happen in a vacuum. That begs the question – who or what is the target of information the feds can get from Viers?