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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Monday - April 19, 2004

NEW BERN - Acting United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced that THOMAS M. HODGES pled guilty in federal court in New Bern, N. C., on Monday, April 19, 2004, to a 20-count indictment that charged him with mail fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement of an insurance premium. He did not have a plea agreement with the United States Attorney's Office and entered his guilty plea to all charges in the indictment.

HODGES, 61, a former Senior Vice President of an insurance consulting company, resides in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

The indictment in this case was returned by a federal grand jury sitting in Greenville, N. C., on December 10, 2003. From at least September, 1996 to December, 2003, HODGES engaged in a fraudulent scheme involving his receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars in commission payments from insurance companies. HODGES 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. 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 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.

U. S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan accepted HODGES' guilty plea and scheduled his sentencing for her July 19, 2004, term of court in New Bern. (See attached penalty sheet for sentencing information.)

Investigation of the case was conducted by the North Carolina Department of Insurance. "Department of Insurance investigators worked hard on this case, and today's guilty plea is a satisfying development," said Insurance Commissioner Jim Long. "Our number one goal is to protect North Carolinians, and we will continue our fight against insurance fraud until the message is clear--if you defraud the citizens of this state, we will catch you and hold you responsible."

The Department of Insurance employs 23 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud. To report suspected fraud, contact the Department of Insurance Investigations Division at 919/733-7434. Callers may remain anonymous. Information is also available at www.ncdoi.com.

Assistant United States Attorney Clay C. Wheeler is prosecuting the case for the government.



Attachment
- Penalty Sheet [pdf 41kb]

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