County councilman pleads guilty to tax charges, receives probation

County councilman pleads guilty to tax charges, receives probation

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Richland County Councilman Kelvin Washington pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon to charges of failing to file tax returns.

Washington is accused of failing to file returns for three years in a row, starting in 2012. Those charges emerged after the state Department of Revenue began investigating administration of the Richland County Penny Tax.

The councilman appeared at the Richland County Courthouse and received 3 years probation that will be lifted if he pays a $2,500 fine.

Washington was charged last month after a Department of Revenue investigation into the Penny Tax Program found evidence he failed to file state tax returns.

Washington was also removed from the county's Transportation Ad Hoc Committee. That committee oversees projects related to the county's Transportation Penny Tax.

The councilman has not been tied to any alleged 'questionable spending' in the program. Washington addressed the court, saying a career transition period was why he got behind in his tax work.

"Just didn't take care of my personal assets in with regards to transitioning from public work, working with DOT into private work," Washington said. "Just got behind."

Washington's attorneys expect he will have civil penalties coming in addition to his sentence in court. They say since the charges came down last year, he has filed his back tax returns.

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