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Photo courtesy of N.C. Department of Insurance

Former Fire Chief In Catawba County Indicted On 17 Felony Counts Following Department Of Insurance Probe

The former Chief of the Conover Fire Department has been indicted on multiple counts that accuse him of falsifying reports and making false statements. The charges follow a North Carolina Department of Insurance (DOI) investigation.

57-year-old James Mark Hinson of Antioch Drive in Conover was arrested Tuesday (September 19) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with ten felony counts of accessing a government computer, five felony counts of common law forgery and two felony counts of providing false statements.

Conover City Manager Tom Hart released the following statement: “The city has been cooperating with an N.C. Department of Insurance investigation and the DOI has charged the former fire chief with several crimes related to providing false information on fire incident reports. The city of Conover and the personnel of the Conover Fire Department remain committed to providing the best fire protection services to our community.”

According to a news release, Hinson resigned his position on August 14. He was processed at the Catawba County Detention Facility Tuesday. The arrest report says Hinson was not questioned and did not give any statements. He was released under a $68,500 unsecured bond. A Superior Court date was scheduled today (September 20) in Newton. Assistant Chief Mark Stafford of Taylorsville is acting as interim chief.

[WACB’s Rick Gilbert contributed to this story]