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Former Fort Oglethorpe building inspector Mark Lindsay

RINGGOLD, Ga. -- The last gift she gave him was a ticket to prison.

During a two-day trial this week, Deborah Holt testified against her ex-lover, Mark Lindsay, Fort Oglethorpe's former building inspector.

On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Ralph Van Pelt Jr. convicted Lindsay on seven counts of theft by receiving stolen properties. Van Pelt sentenced Lindsay, who is now in the Catoosa County Jail, to 10 years in state prison.

Holt testified their extramarital affair began around 2005. In 2008, she started forging checks from her company, the Gateway Mall on Cloud Springs Road.

Holt, the store's bookkeeper, used the money to buy gifts for Lindsay. She bought him a Yamaha Rhino, accessories for the Rhino, a 16-foot trailer, a 40-inch flat-screen TV, an electric smoker and a .44 Magnum revolver.

She also paid for campaign signs during his 2010 run for Catoosa County Commission. Lindsay received only about 200 of the 1,000 votes in the Republican primary.

Four months later, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested him, after an investigation that had begun that September.

It started when Gateway Mall owner Linda Halpin noticed that her company's account had less money in it than it should have had. She found out Holt was taking the money. At first, she was going to let the bookkeeper pay her back.

Then Halpin realized how much money Holt stole. According to a release from District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin, the total amount of stolen goods was worth $50,000-$75,000. Holt pleaded guilty to multiple counts of forgery and theft in March 2012 and was sentenced to prison.

Fort Oglethorpe Police Chief David Eubanks said Holt quickly confessed that she bought gifts for Lindsay, gifts investigators later found at his house.

"Fort Oglethorpe police did a ... good job of tracking down all the funds," Assistant District Attorney Alan Norton said.

According to Franklin's release, Holt told the GBI that she gave Lindsay specific gifts that he had asked for. He should have known her bookkeeping gig didn't fund those presents.

"We're talking about expensive gifts," Eubanks said. "We're not talking about taking him to lunch or giving him an ID bracelet."

Lindsay's attorneys, William Hentz and Larry Hill, requested a bench trial, meaning the judge decided whether Lindsay was guilty instead of a jury. Hill did not return a call seeking comment, and a listed phone number for Hentz was not working Thursday.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at tjett@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6476.

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