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Jail prisoner hangs himself

Tim Mutrie

A prisoner in the Pitkin County Jail hanged himself in a cell yesterday afternoon, according to authorities.

According to unconfirmed reports, the prisoner was convicted embezzler Michael Bolton, 51.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office would not confirm the identity of the deceased yesterday and referred all inquiries to the local district attorney’s office – the agency said to be handling the investigation. District Attorney Mac Meyers said he could not comment on the matter just before 5 p.m. last night, and no details of the incident were available.

Bolton, the former Roaring Fork Club construction manager who in May pleaded guilty to embezzling some $200,000 from the Basalt club, was awaiting sentencing yesterday in the jail. Judge J.E. DeVilbiss was scheduled to call Bolton’s case at 2 p.m. Monday, according to the district court docket.

“He was looking at 18 to 24 years [yesterday], as a practical matter,” said public defender James Conway, Bolton’s attorney.

Bolton had been on probation from Douglas County for a 1995 felony theft conviction at the time he committed the thefts from the Roaring Fork Club, which would have contributed to the hefty sentencing he likely faced yesterday.

On May 12, Bolton pleaded guilty to two counts of “theft series,” both class 3 felonies, linking him to more than 40 criminal acts at the Roaring Fork Club over a yearlong period. As part of the agreement, one count of theft series was dismissed, as was a “violation of bail bond condition” charged against Bolton after he failed to appear at a scheduled court date. He was later turned over to authorities by bail bondsmen who had tracked him to a Grand Junction motel.

The scheme Bolton employed to embezzle funds from the golf and fishing club involved the creation of three phantom, or nonexistent, companies. Between August 1997 and April 1998, Bolton turned in dozens of invoices to the club from the phantom companies for several thousand tons of rock that were never delivered, according to court documents. Bolton pocketed some $200,000 in the scheme. His excessive invoicing was the key to uncovering the crimes, authorities said.


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