Suspended Rep. Harold Mitchell, D-Spartanburg, pleaded guilty to lesser charges after he was accused of not paying enough state income tax for several years.
Mitchell's trial was scheduled to begin in a Spartanburg courtroom Monday morning. Instead of a trial, he pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to file state tax returns after the two tax evasion charges were dropped.
Prior to his plea, the South Carolina Department of Revenue said Mitchell failed to file state income tax returns between 2005 and 2008, then filed delinquent returns and under-reported income in 2009. The agency said Mitchell owed more than $7,000 in back taxes.
Mitchell was indicted by the state grand jury in January and was suspended from the House. Mitchell said on Monday he was working on getting his paperwork through so he could be reinstated.
Mitchell was sentenced to one year for each count, which was suspended to three years probation and the payment of $5,989.30 for all taxes owed. His sentencing was decided by the Spartanburg County General Sessions Court. The charges carried a maximum potential sentence of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $10,000 for each count.
Mitchell had previously denied the tax evasion charges. He released a report earlier this year that he said showed he overpaid state taxes by nearly $2,000 during the period in question.
The 47-year-old Mitchell has been in the House since 2005.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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