Ex-Rep. Viers pleads not guilty in federal case

FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) -- A former South Carolina House member has pleaded not guilty to charges he helped a businessman hide assets from an insurance company and lied to IRS agents.

Thad Viers entered the plea at his arraignment Thursday in federal court in Florence.

Prosecutors say the 36-year-old former Republican lawmaker from Myrtle Beach helped Marlon Weaver hide assets after he defaulted on a $6 million contract to pave part of Interstate 95. Weaver pleaded guilty to money laundering in 2013.

Defense lawyer Pete Strom says Viers didn't know what he was doing was wrong. Strom says Viers and other young lawyers don't get enough training on how to handle complex financial matters.

Viers served in the state House from 2003 until 2012. He pleaded guilty in January to stalking a former girlfriend.