Explainer: A breakdown of Charles and Linda Bolton's federal charges

Explainer: A breakdown of Charles and Linda Bolton's federal charges

HATTIESBURG, MS - Forrest County Chief Deputy Charles Bolton and his wife, Linda Bolton, were indicted in Federal Court on Wednesday for felony tax evasion.

According to the indictment, the couple was charged with a total of 10 counts of tax evasion and filing false returns.

According to the indictment:

"Defendants further attempted to evade and evaded the assessment of their income tax, by among other things, (1) cashing tens of thousands of dollars in checks purportedly issued in payment for liquor, wine and catering services to prevent those payments from being recorded on their business bank statements; (2) providing deceptive records to their tax return preparer; and (3) making false statements to their tax returns preparer that some payments for goods and services were loans."

Attorney Leonard Van Slyke of Jackson has dealt with many tax evasion cases over a span of several years. He said the crime happens frequently.

"Tax evasion is simply not reporting all the income that you had," Van Slyke said. "Or it can also arise through claiming deductions to which you are not entitled. In other words it all relates to underpaying your taxes."

Federal authorities charged the couple with five counts of tax evasion for each year in 2009-2013.

"In order for the government to prove evasion it would have to show that amounts did not reach the return or not who on the return," Slyke said. "Taxes weren't paid."

Federal authorities charged the couple with an additional five counts of perjury on a return for each year in 2009-2013.

"Perjury on the return on the other hand would only require the government to show that there was in fact some item on the return that was false," Slyke said. "Not necessarily involving large amounts of money. Just a single item that is false."

Slyke said an indictment is nearly one side of a legal argument. He said the government must prove without a reasonable doubt that the things they have alleged are true, which could mean jail time.

The Bolton's are both residents of Hattiesburg and owners of Sports 22 and Hall Avenue Package Store.

The couple filed joint U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns with the Internal Revenue Service for tax years 2009-2013, which are listed in the indictment.

Seven On Your Side reached out to Charles Bolton for a comment, but he declined.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned to WDAM.com for more updates as soon as they become available.