UPDATE: Judge throws out Saltses' convictions

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

GREENVILLE – Michael and Marie Salts’ 2003 embezzlement convictions were wiped away Thursday by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge W. Allen Pepper’s decision means Michael should be released from a jail sentence and Marie’s house arrest be reconsidered, said their attorney Jim Waide of Tupelo.

Whether the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office plans to retry them wasn’t known yet.

The couple was indicted by a Prentiss County grand jury in May 2003 on six counts of embezzlement. The indictments alleged that over 17 years, they embezzled thousands of dollars from an insurance company.

Key to their change of fortunes was a June 2009 report and recommendation by Magistrate Judge Jerry Davis, which said the couple was denied effective assistance of counsel during their trial in Lee County.

The Saltses were convicted in October 2005. Each was sentenced to 10 years in prison and their children were taken in by relatives.

Recently, Marie Salts completed her state time and has been on house supervision. But her husband was denied the possibility of parole because of a previous conviction.