CHARLOTTE — A major political donor has been found guilty of trying to bribe a North Carolina insurance regulator in hopes of reducing scrutiny of his business.
A federal jury convicted insurance magnate Greg Lindberg on Thursday of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, according to court documents . His colleague, John Gray, was also found guilty of the two counts.
Another Lindberg associate charged in the case, John Palermo, was acquitted of the two counts.
Prosecutors have said Lindberg conspired to funnel money to Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey in exchange for special treatment. In particular, Lindberg sought to replace or work around a senior deputy commissioner within Causey’s office whose job it was to scrutinize Lindberg’s Global Bankers Insurance Group, according to court documents.
Causey alerted authorities and cooperated in the case against Lindberg.
The case also ensnared former state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes, who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. Court documents said Hayes talked to the insurance commissioner about Lindberg’s request to make personnel changes within the regulator’s agency.
Lindberg is an insurance and investment firm founder who has been among the state’s top political donors in recent years, giving more than $5 million to state and federal candidates and committees since 2016. He favored Republican causes and politicians recently, but also gave to Democrats.