An Elk Grove man who bilked Caltrans of more than $1.8 million took a plea deal this week that includes not only nine years in prison but forfeiture of his Star Wars collection.
Eric Hodgson, 43, was arrested in April on 22 counts of grand theft. His company, Phenix Print & Image, contracted with Caltrans to advertise construction work to bidders, as required by state law.
Department staff suspected the ads didn't run in local newspapers, however, after they asked for publication proof.
Investigators said Hodgson dummied up invoices for ads that never ran and used the money to pay off a home loan, fund exotic trips and buy comics and toys.
Hodgson pleaded guilty Thursday to seven charges and agreed to give up two homes, two cars and several retirement savings accounts.
The state also will auction off his Star Wars memorabilia, including an encased model of the Millennium Falcon spacecraft, limited-edition light sabers and a 3-foot-tall rubber Yoda clothed in sackcloth-like cotton and holding a cane atop a display pedestal.
A collectibles expert told Attorney General Kamala Harris' office, which investigated the case, that the Star Wars stash is worth $10,000.
– Jon Ortiz
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– Fresno Bee
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