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HGC to begin collecting restitution from runaway bootmaker

By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Sentinel

For more than a year, Floyd “Ben” Hilton has made restitution payments in the amount of $280 per month to a 97th District Court probation officer. Now, the Henrietta Growth Corporation can begin collecting the funds, which were stolen by the “Runaway Bootmaker” three years ago.

The probation office has collected $4,200 from Hilton. Monday, the HGC Board of Directors decided to collect the amount, and will collect the funds quarterly until the restitution is paid. Hilton was ordered to pay $16,689.

In October 2010, Hilton pled guilty to three counts of theft over $1,500, under $20,000 for fraudulent receipts to the HGC in an effort to collect reimbursements.

In May 2008, the HGC awarded $28,000 in performance-based incentives to Big Sky Custom Boots after Hilton presented plans for expansion of the business. The incentive funds were approved with the expectation of earning the funds back through sales tax over a 10-year period. At the time, Big Sky was bringing in an estimated $1,000 in sales tax per month.

A remodel of the interior of Hilton’s shop progressed until December 2008, when Hilton informed employees that he would be taking a few days off before Christmas. Hilton did not return, leaving a business partner and three employees with unfilled orders. The business was later liquidated.

After Hilton left, it was discovered that much of the work for which he had received reimbursement had not been completed.


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The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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