Knox Bridges charged with felonies

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 9, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — Federal authorities have charged a Salisbury man of running a ponzi scheme that bilked institutions and individuals out of millions of dollars.
Among John Knox Bridges’ victims, federal prosecutors say, was the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation, from which he is accused of stealing $600,000 in 2009.
Bridges was indicted Aug. 18. He was arrested and formally charged Thursday. He was released after posting $25,000 bond.
Bridges has pleaded not guilty and asked for a jury trial, court records show. The case has been scheduled for court Oct. 3 in Charlotte.
Bridges, who made an apparent suicide attempt at his Salisbury home on Aug. 4 after shooting himself in the torso with a shotgun, was indicted Aug. 18.
According to court documents, Bridges is accused of engaging in “a series of schemes and artifices to defraud individuals and charitable organizations within the Western District in North Carolina and elsewhere.”
Bridges has been accused since 2009 of taking more than $600,000 from the N.C. Transportation Museum, along with $800,000 from North Carolina fresco artist Ben Long.
Federal prosecutors say the total amount of funds involved in Bridges’ schemes from March 2004 to January 2010 is believed to be more than $2.3 million.
According to the indictment, Bridges “solicited several individuals to invest in a fictitious company called “Logan Investments.”
Bridges told people he would invest their money in a private oil company in Texas that was building a pipeline to transport petroleum across the U.S., according to court documents.
But Bridges actually used the money for international travel and personal living expenses, according to federal authorities.
“In truth and fact, Bridges was paying such investors with funds received from other victims in the manner of what is commonly known as a ponzi scheme, the federal indictment states.
Court records also show prosecutors believe Bridges “fraudulently caused $600,000 to be wired from” the N.C. Transportation Museum to the Lindbergh Foundation, based in Minnesota, in July 2009. That was to repay money he’d gotten from the Lindbergh Foundation, the federal authorities allege.
At the time, Bridges was a board member of the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation and the president of the Lindbergh Foundation.
But the Lindbergh Foundation discovered that the funds came from the museum’s foundation, and called North Carolina about the wired funds.
Bridges resigned from his position on the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation board in September 2009 at the request of board officials.
Court documents allege Bridges told federal investigators his computer had been hacked in 2009 and $600,000 had been stolen from his personal bank account.
Just two weeks before U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins signed Bridges’ federal indictment, Bridges tried to kill himself in his 207 S. Ellis St. home.
Knox shot himself in the left torso with a shotgun after a Salisbury Police officer shot him with a Taser in an attempt to incapacitate him.
The shotgun blast left Bridges in critical condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He was upgraded to good condition on Aug. 9 and has since been released.