Federal jury in Charlotte convicts NC billionaire Greg Lindberg in bribery scheme

A federal jury on Wednesday convicted — for the second time — North Carolina billionaire Greg Lindberg of orchestrating a bribery scheme.

Lindberg, 53, was the founder and chairman of Eli Global and the owner of Global Bankers Insurance Group. He tried to bribe state Department of Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey to get rid of a regulator, a federal jury in Charlotte found Wednesday.

“This was not a lapse in judgment. It was a calculated bribery attempt and a blatant violation of federal law,” said U.S. Attorney Dena King in a statement. “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.”

In 2022, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Lindberg’s 2020 bribery conviction in the case, finding that a judge gave improper instructions to jurors. Prosecutors tried again, leading to this week’s conviction.

Lindberg and his employee John Gray gave and offered millions in campaign contributions and “other things of value” in exchange for the removal of the Department of Insurance’s senior deputy commissioner who oversaw one of Lindberg’s companies, according to court records.

There was just one problem: Causey had gone to the FBI, got a wire and recorded their conversations.

“We cannot turn our backs on fraud and corruption just because of political allegiance,” Causey said in a statement, in response to Lindberg being found guilty again. “Our democracy is built on the rule of law and commands that we all follow the law and that there is equal justice under the law. For our system to work, we must obey and respect the law.”

Lindberg’s attorneys did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

“They thought they could buy changes to North Carolina Department of Insurance personnel to benefit Lindberg’s businesses,” Robert DeWitt, the FBI’s special agent in charge of Charlotte’s field office, said in a statement. “The FBI will work tirelessly to root out any and all forms of public corruption.”

Lindberg and Gray are awaiting sentencing. They face up to 30 years in prison.