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Press Release

Chairman Of Multinational Investment Company And Company Consultant Convicted Of Bribery Scheme At Retrial

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A federal jury in Charlotte convicted the founder and chairman of a multinational investment company and a company consultant today after a retrial for orchestrating a bribery scheme involving independent expenditure accounts and improper campaign contributions, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. 

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Robert M. DeWitt, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina, join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, from April 2017 to August 2018, Greg E. Lindberg, 53, of Durham, North Carolina, the founder and chairman of Eli Global LLC and the owner of Global Bankers Insurance Group (GBIG), and Lindberg’s consultant, John D. Gray, 73, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, engaged in a bribery scheme involving independent expenditure committees and improper campaign contributions for the purpose of causing the Commissioner of Insurance (Commissioner) of the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) to take official action favorable to Lindberg’s company, GBIG. Lindberg and Gray gave, offered, and promised the Commissioner millions of dollars in campaign contributions and other things of value in exchange for the removal of NCDOI’s Senior Deputy Commissioner, who was responsible for overseeing the regulation and the periodic examination of GBIG. 

Lindberg, Gray, and the Commissioner held numerous in-person meetings at different locations and had telephonic and other communications with each other, their codefendant, Robert Cannon Hayes, 78, of Concord, North Carolina, and others to discuss Lindberg’s request for the personnel change in exchange for millions of dollars, and to devise a plan on how to funnel campaign contributions to the Commissioner anonymously. To conceal the bribery scheme, at the direction of Lindberg, two corporate entities were set up to form independent expenditure committees with the purpose of supporting the Commissioner’s re-election campaign, and Lindberg funded the entities with $1.5 million as promised to the Commissioner. In addition, at Lindberg’s and Gray’s direction, Hayes caused the transfer of $250,000 from monies Lindberg had previously contributed to a North Carolina state party, of which Hayes was chairman, to the Commissioner’s re-election campaign.

“The defendants planned and executed an intricate scheme involving substantial campaign contributions to an elected official in exchange for favorable treatment. This was not a lapse in judgment. It was a calculated bribery attempt and a blatant violation of federal law,” said U.S. Attorney King. “Public corruption erodes our trust in the people we elect to protect the greater good and lessens our faith in the fundamental principles upon which our society is built. My office will continue to root out public corruption schemes and hold accountable individuals who engage in this unethical and illegal conduct.”

“Greg Lindberg and John Gray knowingly ignored the difference between legal political donations and felonious bribery,” said Special Agent in Charge DeWitt. “They thought they could buy changes to North Carolina Department of Insurance personnel to benefit Lindberg’s businesses. The FBI will work tirelessly to root out any and all forms of public corruption.”

The jury convicted Lindberg and Gray of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. A sentencing date has not been set. The defendants face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Hayes pleaded guilty in October 2019 to making false statements to the FBI.

The FBI Charlotte Field Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lawrence Cameron and Dana Washington for the Western District of North Carolina, and Trial Attorney William Gullotta of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the case.


Updated May 15, 2024

Financial Fraud
Public Corruption