Congressman Bennie Thompson’s staff chief pleads to tax evasion

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) – The chief of staff for a Mississippi congressman has pleaded guilty to a federal tax evasion charge.

Isaac Lanier Avant of Arlington struck a plea deal in federal court in Alexandria Wednesday and was convicted on a single misdemeanor charge of failing to file a tax return. He faces up to a year in prison at sentencing in January.

Avant is chief of staff for Rep. Bennie Thompson, the state’s only congressional Democrat.

In court papers, Avant admitted he had no income tax withheld from his congressional paycheck from 2005 through 2012, despite annual wages exceeding $165,000. He filed no tax return from 2008 through 2013.

The plea deal requires a $153,500 restitution payment.

Thompson’s office had no comment Wednesday but confirmed Avant is still an employee.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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