HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi accountant, whose clients include a couple convicted of tax evasion, was arraigned Thursday on 11 tax-related charges.
The Hattiesburg American reports Carl Nicholson, of Hattiesburg, entered a not guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government; four counts of making a false statement on an income tax return and six counts of willfully aiding and assisting in preparation of a false tax return.
A shackled Nicholson seemed unfazed by his arrest. He appeared affable, joking with his attorneys and supporters who attended the hearing.
If convicted, Nicholson faces up to 35 years in prison and $2.75 million in fines.
Nicholson was the accountant for former Forrest County Sheriff's chief deputy Charles Bolton and his wife, Linda Bolton. The couple accused him of misleading them, causing them to file fraudulent tax returns. They were convicted on multiple tax-related crimes and are serving their sentences in federal prisons. The Boltons filed civil lawsuits in Forrest County Circuit Court against Nicholson and former friend and attorney John Lee, who pleaded guilty in February to one count of filing a false corporate tax return.
Lee was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay more than $141,000 restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
Neither he nor the Boltons were named in Nicholson's indictment which contends he allegedly conspired with attorney J.L. of JLPA Law Firm in Forrest County to defraud the government by falsifying the attorney's tax documents between Jan. 1, 2012 and April 15, 2015.
Nicholson, who served on the state College Board from 1993 to 2004, was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond. His trial date is set for the court term beginning Sept. 10.