$10K in Star Wars Loot Seized in Fraud Case

A 43-year-old man from Elk Grove pleaded guilty to defrauding Caltrans

By Ron Rokhy
|  Sunday, Jul 14, 2013  |  Updated 1:01 PM EDT
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A 3-foot tall Yoda statue was among the items seized from a man convicted of defrauding Caltrans out of nearly $1.9 million on Friday, July 12, 2013.

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A man convicted of defrauding Caltrans out of nearly $1.9 million to pay for a lavish lifestyle, which included $10,000 in Star Wars collectibles, was sentenced to nine years in state prison, officials said.

Eric Hodgson, 43, of Elk Grove agreed to a plea deal Tuesday that in addition to prison time, he would forfeit property such as two houses, two cars, retirement savings and a Star Wars collection, which included a 3-foot-tall Yoda statue, according to a statement issued by the California Attorney General's Office.

Caltrans hired Hodgson and his company, Phenix Print & Image, to advertise new construction contracts to potential bidders, but soon discovered that he used fake invoices for ads that were never published in local newspapers as promised, according to the statement.

An investigation conducted by the California Department of Justice determined the stolen money was used to pay off a mortgage, buy comics and toys and fund trips for him and his company’s staff.

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