HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Forrest County’s chief deputy sheriff and his wife were convicted of tax evasion charges Thursday.
The Hattiesburg American reports (http://hatne.ws/2cOEYkW ) Charles Bolton was found guilty of four counts of tax evasion for the years 2010-13, not guilty of one count of tax evasion for 2009, and guilty of five counts of filing a false tax report for 2009-13.
Linda Bolton was found guilty of five counts of filing a false tax report for 2009-13 and not guilty of one tax evasion count for 2009. U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett declared a mistrial on four counts of tax evasion for the years 2010-13 after jurors deadlocked on those charges.
“We are happy that the jury saw the evidence and obviously deliberated carefully through that evidence and came to a verdict at least on 16 of the 20 counts,” Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Harper told WDAM-TV (http://bit.ly/2cONG2h ).
Evidence showed the Boltons were listing income from their restaurant and liquor store as nontaxable loans, and were cashing checks without accounting for the money. The Boltons shifted blame to Hattiesburg attorney John Lee, saying Lee cashed checks at their businesses to evade his own taxes.
After the verdicts, Bolton supporters threatened an IRS agent, pointing and yelling profanities. U.S. Marshals removed family members as they screamed “damnation on this court.”
The Boltons were taken to the Stone County jail Thursday night. As chief deputy, Charles Bolton had run the Forrest County jail. A hearing is set Friday on releasing them on bail until sentencing on Dec. 19.
Forrest County supervisors had no immediate comment regarding Charles Bolton’s employment.
Charles Bolton figured in the electoral dispute between Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree and unsuccessful challenger Dave Ware in 2013. A jail inmate alleged Bolton promised to release him if he voted for DuPree. Bolton disputed that claim. DuPree’s wife collected absentee ballots at the jail.
Monday, jurors convicted a key DuPree ally, the Rev. Kenneth Fairley, of skimming money from a federal housing program.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has questioned the prosecutions, saying it appeared DuPree supporters have been singled out. Justice Department officials said they were reviewing the allegations.
Information from: The Hattiesburg American, http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com