A former Forsyth County commissioner pleaded not guilty Monday in federal court to tax-fraud charges.

Everette Levon Witherspoon Jr. was indicted last month on three counts of filing a false tax return and one count of failing to file a tax return. On Monday, U.S. District Judge William Osteen Jr. formally advised Witherspoon on the charges.

According to court documents, Witherspoon entered not guilty pleas to all the charges. Attorneys Michael Grace and Chris Clifton represent Witherspoon.

Witherspoon is accused of not reporting money he made as a Forsyth County commissioner and under-reporting income from the Greensboro mental-health company that he started in 2009. That company is called Chris’s Rehablative Services LLC, according to court documents and records from the N.C. Secretary of State.

Witherspoon served two terms on the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners. Last year, Tonya McDaniels defeated Witherspoon in the Democratic primary and went on to win a seat on the board in the general election.

Witherspoon is the fifth person to be charged in connection with a tax-fraud scheme that investigators say operated partially out of Fast Tax of Winston-Salem. Witherspoon co-owned the tax-preparation company with two other people who have since been convicted in the scheme — Claudia Lynette Shivers and S. Wayne Patterson. Shivers and Patterson were both accused of preparing false tax returns for clients of the tax-preparation business.

The indictments do not accuse Witherspoon of filing false tax returns on behalf of anyone other than himself. Witherspoon co-owned another tax-preparation business, Quick Taxes LLC in Greensboro. Shivers also co-owned that business.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Shivers, Patterson and two other people — Kristyn Dion Daney and Rakeem Lenell Scales — conspired to prepare 519 false tax returns that claimed $1.3 million in fraudulent tax refunds. All four people have been sentenced.

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mhewlett@wsjournal.com

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