HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - On Monday, four people are set to be sentenced before District Judge Keith Starrett on a list of federal convictions related to multiple crimes.
Artie Fletcher, Kenneth Fairley, Charles and Linda Bolton are all set to appear at the William M. Colmer Federal Building in Hattiesburg for their sentencing.
Co-defendant Artie Fletcher is set to appear in federal court for his sentencing Monday morning at 8:30.
Fletcher, 56, a New Orleans businessman, who is a co-defendant of Hub City Pastor Kenneth Fairley, was indicted in March on charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government; conspiracy to commit money laundering; and engaging in monetary transactions to criminally derive property.
He plead guilty on Sept. 2 to one count of misprision of a felony.
That charge is explained as concealing a federal felony from authorities, while knowing a felony was committed.
"They would get a bid, quote on quote…from a legitimate contractor, this is part of the role that Fletcher played in this scheme… and they would use other workers to do the work that were not actually contracted in order to cut the cost so they could have more money to share in the administrative costs or to pocket or ever what they were doing," Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering said. "There were multiple layers of fraud, disingenuous reporting, false reporting that took place, six count indictment just here, there is a very good likelihood that we could see these numbers actually grow."
According to the indictment, Fletcher is the owner of Interurban Development, which has been in business for seven years, and is a for-profit development organization based in New Orleans that repairs properties under Housing and Urban Development grants.
"As far as locally, you're looking at other individuals that may have been part of this scheme or are the peripherals of it taking advantage of it that personally enriched themselves that should be held accountable," Pickering said.
The indictment detailed houses located in Hattiesburg and Itemized lists of repair costs submitted to HUD by Pine Belt for each property revealed that $24,432.95 was spent on labor and materials for 127 E. 5th Street and $13,373.31 was spent on 202 South Street.
According to court documents, Fairley and Fletcher pocketed around $120,000.
Fletcher can receive up to three years in prison with one year post-release supervision and up to a $250,000 fine.
Hub City Pastor Kenneth Fairley is set to appear in federal court for his sentencing Monday morning at 9:30.
Fairley was indicted on March 10, and was found guilty Sept. 12 by a jury of his peers on charges of conspiracy to commit theft of government money, and two counts of receiving, retaining, concealing or converting money that belonged to the government.
Those charges relate to defrauding the government agency of Housing and Urban Development through rehabbing houses in Hattiesburg.
On Aug. 3, 2010, the city entered into an agreement with Fairley's company, Pinebelt Community Services, which is a HUD certified Community Housing Development Organization. The purpose was to rehabilitate three Hattiesburg residences located on 127 E. 5th Street and 202 South Street.
The agreement was amended on July 19, 2011, to only correspond with two residential properties. On July 22, HUD provided $46,703.50 to the city of Hattiesburg which would ultimately come into Fairley's possession under Pine Belt Community Services.
Fletcher was the owner of Interurban Development, a for-profit development organization based in New Orleans, and was contracted by Pine Belt Community Services by Fairley.
According to court testimony, Fairley and Fletcher agreed for Fletcher to provide "seed money," given that the HUD agreement was a reimbursement contract that required Pinebelt Community Services to incur costs of the project prior to receiving the HUD grant.
Fletcher directed an individual known as the Neighborhood Improvement and Community Education Foundation, a non-profit based in New Orleans, to transfer the seed money from a financial institution account to an account controlled by Fairley.
The indictment went on to say that Fletcher authorized Fairley to complete bid requests on behalf of Interurban, which were then submitted by Pinebelt Community Services to the City of Hattiesburg as cost projections for the properties under the HUD grant.
Both Fairley and Fletcher agreed that Interurban would not perform the work, but instead Fairley would subcontract the work to local individuals who would perform the work for less money.
The excess money paid by HUD was the difference in the actual cost of work done by local individuals versus the fake costs submitted on the request for bids, which would ultimately enrich Fairley and Fletcher, according to court testimony.
A list of itemized repair costs submitted to HUD by Pine Belt Community Services revealed that $24,432.95 was spent on labor and materials for the 127 E. 5th Street location, and $13,373.31 was spent on the 202 South Street location.
According to subpoenaed records, all the labor and material costs were paid by Pine Belt Community Services through a Wells Fargo Checking account, not Interurban.
It took six hours and 20 minutes for a jury of 12, made up of seven women, and five men, with six black jurors and six white jurors to return the unanimous verdict.
Fairley faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy charge, and up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the two theft charges, totaling 25 years.
Former Forrest County Chief Deputy Charles Bolton and his wife Linda are set to be sentenced at 1:30 Monday afternoon.
Charles and Linda were indicted March 23, 2016 each on 10 counts of tax evasion and filing false tax returns.
Charles was convicted on four counts of tax evasion, not guilty on one count of tax evasion and guilty on all five counts related to filing a false tax return.
Linda was convicted on five counts of filing a false tax return and not guilty on one count of tax evasion, with a "no verdict" being reached on the remaining four.
"The justice system is alive and it works, and you know when you have situation where people violate federal law, particularly tax laws or any other laws than it's the obligation of the United States Department of justice to pursue those cases and prosecute them," Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Harper said.
Both are residents of Hattiesburg and own businesses known as Sports 22 and Hall Avenue Package store.
Their charges carry up to two years a piece, per conviction, meaning Charles could see 18 years, and Linda could be sentenced to 10.