Top SCV Attorney Indicted in International Tax Scheme

Neo-Confederates

Sam Currin, the legal chief for the Southern heritage group Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and a former U.S. attorney from North Carolina, was indicted in April in a major tax scheme. He was charged with helping people set up offshore bank accounts, credit cards and trusts to help them evade income taxes, along with obstruction of justice, witness tampering and perjury in a related case.

Currin has been a major player in the extremist attempt to take over the SCV that has been playing out over the last several years. He was for years the chief legal officer of the SCV division in North Carolina, where a purge of anti-racists began and where he ratified the expulsion of some 300 SCV members. In July 2004, he again took the side of the extremists, barring entry to the SCV annual convention to Walt Hilderman, a leading SCV member who wanted to run for SCV commander in chief on an anti-racist platform. After Hilderman was ejected under threat of arrest, newly elected commander Denne Sweeney rewarded Currin with appointment to the job of judge advocate in chief, the highest legal post in the organization.

By the time of his arrest, Currin had amassed a set of impressive conservative credentials. He was an aide to U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), the U.S. attorney for eastern North Carolina from 1981 to 1987, and a superior court judge until 1990. He then went on to represent criminal defendants in the state. Between 1996 and 1999, Currin also served as the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party.

The indictment of Currin followed a three-year undercover IRS investigation that also implicated Howell and Vernice Woltz and Wilmington tax attorney Ricky Graves. Prosecutors say Currin and the Woltzes, in meetings with undercover agents, outlined illegal methods of concealing income from the government. The Woltzes are also key figures in a separate international money laundering case.

Currin, whose now-closed Raleigh law offices once featured walls hung with Confederate memorabilia including portraits of leading Civil War figures, is also charged in the indictment with persuading attorney Robert Wellons to "make false and misleading statements to and withhold documents from the grand jury."

Currin resigned his post with the SCV shortly after being indicted. If convicted of the charges facing him, he could go to prison for up to 60 years.