HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Former Forrest County Chief Deputy Charles Bolton and his wife, Linda Bolton, were sentenced to prison Friday afternoon at the federal courthouse in Forrest County.
Judge Keith Starrett sentenced Charles Bolton to three years and nine months in prison for tax evasion and filing a false tax return. Linda Bolton was sentenced to two years and six months in prison for tax evasion.
Both are ordered to pay "jointly" $145,849.78 in restitution, and both will report voluntarily to prison within 60 days.
One of the biggest topics discussed in court Friday was stolen jail food. Charles said he never stole anything from Forrest County.
Starrett said this was the "clearest case of tax fraud anyone could have scripted." He said the Boltons took advantage of stolen food, meaning that stolen food equals income.
But, Linda Bolton said she did nothing wrong. Instead, she said it was her accountant, and that she really did not know anything.
The Boltons, who own Sports 22 and Hall Avenue Package Store, were indicted in March 2016 each on 10 counts of tax evasion and filing false tax returns.
Charles Bolton 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 Bolton 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.
Before the sentencing, Charles and Linda Bolton both remained free on $25,000 unsecured bonds.
The court took recess around lunchtime just after Linda Bolton's attorney passed out while addressing the judge.
Ambulance and fire personnel were been called to the scene.
The hearings did not begin until 11:30 a.m.
Just 15 minutes into the sentencing hearing, Linda Bolton's attorney, Robert McDuff, passed out while speaking to the judge. McDuff collapsed and fell backward, hitting his head on the floor.
During that time, McDuff and Judge Keith Starrett were discussing the taxes "paid or not paid" on alleged stolen food from the Forrest County Jail.
According to reports, McDuff was not transported by ambulance.