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CHARLES STEPHEN HODSON

Press Release

November 4, 2004
For Immediate Release
Contact:
Lynn Thompson,
President, Cold Steel, Inc.
(805) 650-8481

Charles Hodson Arrested in Ventura, California on a Charge of Grand Theft.

Charles Stephen Hodson was arrested November 1, 2004, on a felony charge of grand theft, based on information provided to law enforcement authorities by Cold Steel, Inc. The charge involves acts allegedly committed by Hodson while he was an employee of Cold Steel. The felony criminal complaint filed in Ventura County Superior Court alleges that Hodson stole a customer check from Cold Steel, deposited it in his wife's bank account, and then concealed the theft from Cold Steel. Hodson was released after posting bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on November 8, 2004.

Former Cold Steel vice president Chuck Fretwell hired Hodson for the position of sales manager in August 2000. Fretwell also supervised Hodson and worked closely with him. Fretwell resigned from his Cold Steel employment in January 2002, and Hodson resigned three months later. Several months afterwards, Cold Steel first learned that Hodson had a prior felony record involving fraud, as well as millions of dollars in judgments against him by the victims of those frauds. Hodson failed to disclose this information in his employment application to Cold Steel.

Cold Steel's further investigation revealed the extent of Hodson's prior criminal acts. On August 3, 1983, Hodson was indicted in federal District Court in Los Angeles on five counts of theft, embezzlement, or misapplication of funds. He pleaded guilty to two counts, and was sentenced to two years imprisonment, with all but 30 days suspended. He also was sentenced to five years probation.

The Ventura County, California, grand jury indicted Hodson on November 6, 1987, on numerous charges of fraud, forgery and other crimes. The wrongful conduct occurred between July 1983 and July 1986, and thus began while Hodson was being prosecuted in federal court, and appears to have continued while he was on probation on the federal conviction. Hodson was convicted again, by a plea of guilty, of committing forgery and grand theft, and filing a false tax return. Hodson pleaded guilty to counts involving 27 victims.

Hodson also pled guilty to special allegations that he accepted money from various victims, representing that he was investing the money, and that he then failed to return the money to the victims. The charges also involved the forging of signatures on promissory notes and trust deeds. Hodson was sentenced to a total time of seven years in state prison and was required to pay $10,000 restitution. Hodson's state prison sentence was to be served consecutively with his federal prison sentence.

Many of Hodson's victims filed civil actions against him in Ventura County Superior Court, obtaining judgments against him for substantial sums. The following is a summary of some of the judgments.

A.E. Sloan et al. v. Buena Financial and Charles Hodson
Case No. CIV 093307 (filed 8/8/86)
Amount of original Judgment: $1,568,167.16
Value of Judgment as of 12/14/00
with accrued interest: $3,098,979.00

Bordeau v. Hodson
Case No. CIV 096527 (filed 4/16/87)
Amount of original Judgment: $ 202,000.00
Value of Judgment as of 8/13/96
with accrued interest: $ 363,614.00

Emery v. Hodson
Case No. CIV 98606 (filed 9/22/87)
Amount of original Judgment: $ 318,360.00
Value of Judgment as of 7/6/95
with accrued interest: $ 573,879.40

Cole v. Hodson
Case No. CIV 108540 (filed 8/31/89)
Amount of original Judgment: $ 921,685.52

The total amount of these judgments, with accrued interest, as of the dates last reported, is approximately $5 million. Additionally, at least 10 other civil actions were filed against Hodson during the same general time period.

Anyone with information about these or other potentially wrongful acts is urged to contact Deputy District Attorney Marc Leventhal at (805) 289-1939.

UPDATE-JAN 17TH 2006
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