Judge Orders Nick Wilson and Wife to Pay Back Tax Refund

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A federal judge says former state Senator Nick Wilson and his wife must pay back a $128,676 income tax refund they received after deducting restitution money he paid from federal public corruption convictions.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright ordered Wilson and his wife Susan yesterday to pay back the Internal Revenue Service the entire amount, plus interest accrued since November 2004.  Federal prosecutors urged the judge in July to force the Wilsons to pay, saying there was "no genuine issue as to any material fact" to stop the order.

Wilson, a 29-year veteran Democratic senator from Pocahontas, pleaded guilty in 2000 to a single racketeering charge.  He was convicted of tax evasion and conspiracy charges in 1999.  Wilson admitted being the ringleader of three schemes to bilk money from state programs benefitting children and injured school workers.

Wilson was released from prison in 2005 after serving a sentence of nearly six years.  Wilson also was ordered to pay more than $1.2 million in fines and restitution.

An attorney for Wilson says he hasn't talked to the former state senator yet about whether to appeal.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)