SACRAMENTO, CA - The owner of an Elk Grove printing business is alleged to have defrauded California taxpayers of $1.8 million when he pocketed Caltrans payments for personal use rather than for the jobs for which he was paid.
Eric Blaine Hodgson, 43,, the owner of Phenix Print & Image of Elk Grove, faces 22 counts of grand theft, according to Caltrans and California Department of Justice.
Caltrans contracted with Hodgson in 2008 and 2009 to have his company advertise new construction contracts to bidders in publications, as required by law. A routine check for proof of publication led to a review of invoices submitted by Hodgson to Caltrans.
The DOJ investigation found the invoices from Hodgson for his work were made up and the contracts were not printed in local newspapers, according to Caltrans spokesperson Tamie McGowan.
Rather, investigators learned from Hodgson's seized business records and computers, the money Caltrans paid Hodgson was used by him to pay off a mortgage, take trips for himself and his employees, and purchase toys and comics.
Hodgson was arrested and booked into Sacramento County Jail.