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State police probe computer impersonation case at Camden Town Office

By Stephen Betts | Jan 03, 2012

Camden — State police are investigating the Camden development director for possibly impersonating a state government official who holds the job he once held.

No criminal charges have been filed against Camden Development Director Brian Hodges.

The state police computer crimes unit obtained search warrants Dec. 20 to seize the computer and computer records at Hodges' office at the Camden Town Office and at the home where Hodges lives in West Gardiner.

The investigation began Oct. 17 when Maine Community and Economic Development Director George Gervais asked to talk to the state police. Gervais complained that someone was sending out emails to state employees, purporting to come from Deputy Commissioner Deb Neuman.

The emails came from the address backtobusinessradio@gmail.com with the screen name "Deb N." Neuman has a radio show called Back to Business. Neuman was hired by Gervais in July to be deputy commissioner.

The emails included ones that stated "Advise to you, stop pushing the envelope, Governor will get you something. If the IT thing gets any more rumblings, the other state employees will start asking questions. We're already on thin ice. You're making it worse."

Another email stated that "FYI, spoke with Brian. He's a go but has concerns about Governor's reputation. I can't say I blame him!"

The final email stated "George is a stud and kinky!!! Woooooo hooooooooooooo."

Gervais told the state police he suspected that Hodges was behind the emails. He noted that someone who had knowledge of the state agency had been making ongoing negative comments about Neuman on the Bangor Daily News website.

Hodges said Tuesday evening: "There's an allegation made against me and I don't have any more information provided me beyond what is in the search warrant."

Hodges declined to comment further on the case but said, "At this point, my employment continues until further notice."

He said he would be retaining his own attorney.

The state police issued a subpoena to Google Inc. on Oct. 20 to get subscriber information with the Gmail account backtobusinessradio. The state police later obtained subpoenas to Time Warner and Midcoast Internet Solutions. The information received from them found that the backtobusinessradio account had been created at 2:25 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011, with a computer at the Camden Town Office.

Hodges was hired by Camden as development director in March. He had previously been the deputy commissioner at the state economic development department since 2006 and before that had worked for the state Labor Department.

Hodges is paid $62,858 by Camden, less than what he had earned at the state job.

Maine State Police Detective David Armstrong said he has interviewed Hodges. The detective said Hodges has not admitted to any illegal actions.

The computers have been seized and will be analyzed by the state police computer forensic team. Once that is done, the information will be provided to the district attorney's office to determine whether a charge should be filed.

Detective Armstrong said impersonating a public servant is a misdemeanor.

According to state law, the offense is a Class E crime punishable by up to six months in jail. The law states that "a person is guilty of impersonating a public servant if he falsely pretends to be a public servant and engages in any conduct in that capacity with the intent to deceive anyone."

Lynda Clancy contributed to this article.

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