In No. 309 (April 17, 2019), I first reported on a federal criminal lawsuit against Greg E. Lindberg and his associates for their efforts to bribe the North Carolina commissioner of insurance. I have provided four updates: No. 320 (July 1, 2019), No. 338 (October 24, 2019), No. 355 (February 13, 2020), and No. 361 (March 25, 2020). In the latter, I reported on a March 18 court order directed at Lindberg and others when one of his associates contacted a juror after the trial and verdict. Here I provide another update, on two August 4 court orders. (See U.S.A. v. Lindberg, U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina, Case No. 5-19-cr-22.)
Lindberg is the founder and chairman of Eli Global, LLC, an investment company, and the owner of Global Bankers Insurance Group, a managing company for numerous insurance and reinsurance companies. In March 2019, a federal grand jury charged Lindberg and three others with criminal wrongdoing. The others were: John D. Gray, a Lindberg consultant; John V. Palermo Jr., a vice president of Eli Global; and Robert Cannon Hayes, chairman of the state Republican party in North Carolina. The indictment charged the defendants with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, and aiding and abetting. Hayes was also charged with making false statements.
On February 18, 2020, the trial began. The defendants were Lindberg, Gray, and Palermo. Hayes had pleaded guilty and was awaiting sentencing. The trial ended after eleven trial days. On March 5, the jury found Lindberg and Gray guilty on counts 1 and 2. The jury found Palermo not guilty on counts 1 and 2. On March 13, the government filed a motion for forfeiture of property as to Lindberg and Gray.
On March 18, the judge issued an order directed at Lindberg, Gray, and others after he learned that an individual affiliated with the defendants had spoken with a juror after the trial and verdict. Information from a "post-trial juror interview" could be used by the defendants in preparing appeals. The judge referred the matter to the local U.S. Attorney for investigation, and ordered that Lindberg, Gray, their attorneys, and their consultants refrain from contacting jurors during the investigation and until further order of the court.
On April 2, Lindberg and Gray filed motions for a new trial. On May 6, the government filed, under seal, presentence investigation reports on Lindberg and Gray. On May 13, the judge held a hearing on the government's motion for forfeiture of property. On May 20, Lindberg objected to the presentence investigation report on him. On June 3, Gray objected to the presentence investigation report on him.
The First August 4 Order
On August 4, the judge issued an order granting the government's motion for forfeiture of property as to Lindberg and Gray. Here is part of the concluding section of the order (the full order is in the complimentary package offered at the end of this post):
It is, therefore, ordered that the Government's motion for Preliminary Order of Forfeiture is granted, as follows:
- Based on the trial evidence and defendants' convictions, the United States is authorized to take and maintain possession of the following property, and that property is hereby preliminarily forfeited to the United States for disposition according to law, provided that such forfeiture is not subject to any third-party claims and interests, pending final adjudication:
- Approximately $979,128.63 in funds seized from a Wells Fargo Bank Account ending in 0809, such account held in the name of North Carolina Growth and Prosperity Alliance, Inc.; and
- Approximately $475,629.82 in funds seized from a Wells Fargo Bank Account ending in 0817, such account held in the name of North Carolina Growth and Prosperity Committee, Inc.
- The Government shall publish notice of this order....
- Upon adjudication of all third-party interests, this Court will enter a Final Order of Forfeiture. If no third party files a petition within the time provided by law, then this Order shall become final by operation of law.....
The Second August 4 Order
Also on August 4, the judge issued an order denying the motions of Lindberg and Gray for a new trial. Here is part of the concluding section of the order (the full order is in the complimentary package offered at the end of this post):
After a three-week trial and three days of deliberation, a properly instructed jury considered the relevant evidence and found the defendants guilty of conspiring to commit honest services fraud and of federal funds bribery, based on their offers to provide the Commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Insurance with millions of dollars in campaign contributions in exchange for removing and replacing his Senior Deputy Commissioner as the employee responsible for regulating the defendants' companies. Contrary to the defendants' assertions, the law and evidence supported that verdict. Thus, the Motions for Judgment of Acquittal and for New Trial are denied....
The Government's Sentencing Memorandum on Hayes
On August 10, the government filed, not under seal, its sentencing memorandum on Hayes. Here is the concluding paragraph (the full memorandum is in the complimentary package offered at the end of this post):
For the foregoing reasons, the government respectfully requests that the Court determine that the defendant's Guidelines offense level is 4 and his Criminal History Level is 1. The government further respectfully requests that, taking into consideration the sentencing factors set forth in section 3553(a), the Court sentence the defendant to probation.
This case has a long way to go. For example, it is likely the defendants will appeal the verdict to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. I plan to continue reporting on developments in the case.
The March 18 order suggests that the judge was concerned about the post-trial juror interview. I have not yet heard anything about the results of the investigation the judge requested.
I am offering a complimentary 74-page package consisting of the first August 4 order (14 pages), the second August 4 order (55 pages), and the government's sentencing memorandum on Hayes (5 pages). Email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for the August 2020 package about Lindberg.