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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thursday - December 11, 2003

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney today announced a twenty-count indictment charging THOMAS M. HODGES, a former Senior Vice President of an insurance consulting company, with mail fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement of an insurance premium. The indictment was returned by a federal grand jury sitting in Greenville, N. C., on Wednesday, December 10, 2003.

HODGES, 61, resides in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

The Indictment charges that, from at least September, 1996 to the present, HODGES engaged in a fraudulent scheme involving his receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars in commission payments from insurance companies. HODGES allegedly misled clients--who paid substantial hourly fees for his consulting services--into believing that HODGES did not and would not receive any commissions or other payments from insurance companies when the clients purchased insurance policies. The Indictment alleges that part of HODGES' scheme was to conceal and cover up his receipt of commission payments by arranging for the payments to be issued in the name of a friend's corporation and in his wife's maiden name, and that a further part of HODGES' scheme was to conceal and cover up his receipt of commission payments by falsifying certain insurance company documents provided to his clients. (Penalty sheet attached.)

The investigation of the case was handled by the North Carolina Department of Insurance. Assistant United States Attorney Clay Wheeler is in charge of the prosecution.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney's web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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