Two Businessmen Plead Guilty To Wire Fraud Conspiracy For Orchestrating Large-Scale Investment Scheme
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A federal grand jury in Charlotte returned an indictment charging a North Carolina man with masterminding and directing a massive scheme to deceive state insurance regulators and defraud thousands of policyholders and others in connection with insurance companies he controlled.
According to court documents, from no later than 2016 through at least 2019, Greg E. Lindberg, 53, of Durham, and others allegedly agreed to defraud various insurance companies, other third parties, and ultimately, thousands of insurance policyholders. Lindberg allegedly deceived the North Carolina Department of Insurance and other regulators, evaded regulatory requirements meant to protect policyholders, concealed the true financial condition of his insurance companies, and improperly used insurance company funds for his personal benefit. In particular, the indictment alleges that Lindberg personally benefitted from the fraud in part by using insurance company funds to finance his lavish lifestyle, including the purchase and refinancing of personal real estate and “forgiving” more than $125 million in loans from his affiliated companies to himself.
“Policyholders rely on insurance company owners to follow the rules so that the benefits they deserve and depend on will be available when needed,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “In this alleged $2 billion scheme, the defendant defrauded regulators and policyholders alike, causing substantial financial harm to thousands of victims. As this prosecution demonstrates, no matter how complex the scheme, the department will hold accountable corporate executives whose crimes leave policyholders holding the bag while lining their own pockets.”
“The indictment reveals a carefully orchestrated scheme that relied on a web of complex financial investments and transactions designed to evade regulators, disguise the financial health of Lindberg’s insurance companies, and conceal the alleged purpose of the scheme: Lindberg’s personal gain,” said U.S. Attorney Dena J. King for the Western District of North Carolina. “My office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute financial wrongdoing and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.”
“People buy insurance products to provide comfort and security. However, this indictment alleges this was a sophisticated and intricate scheme designed for one reason, to benefit Lindberg,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael C. Scherck of the FBI Charlotte Field Office. “The FBI is unwavering in our efforts to hold those accountable who commit federal financial crimes.”
The charged conduct allegedly caused substantial financial hardship to the victims. Lindberg allegedly caused the insurance companies to engage in investments of nearly $2 billion as part of his scheme, most of which remained outstanding as of September 2022. Since 2019, multiple insurance companies controlled by Lindberg have been placed into rehabilitation or liquidation.
Lindberg is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit crimes in connection with insurance business, wire fraud, and investment adviser fraud; one count of wire fraud; four counts of false insurance business statements presented to regulators; six counts of false entries about the financial condition or solvency of an insurance business; and one count of money laundering conspiracy. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the top counts.
In December 2022, one of Lindberg’s top executives, Christopher Herwig, pleaded guilty in a related case to conspiring with Lindberg and others to commit wire fraud, investment advisor fraud, and money laundering, as well as to the making of false statements in the business of insurance.
Separately, Lindberg remains under indictment and is awaiting retrial in a case in which he faces several charges stemming from alleged attempts to bribe the Commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Insurance.
The FBI Charlotte Field Office is investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Ryan for the Western District of North Carolina and Trial Attorney Lyndie Freeman of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.
If you believe you are a victim in this case, please contact the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness Unit toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are also encouraged to visit our webpage for this case at www.justice.gov/criminal-vns/case/united-states-v-greg-lindberg.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.