Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck (R) was indicted in May on 38 counts of defrauding a former employer, the Georgia Underwriting Association (GUA), for a total of more than $2 million over a five-year period.
In a statement, U. S. Attorney Byung J. Pak said, “Beck allegedly pocketed a substantial amount of money to which he was not entitled while he was the GUA General Manager for Operations. To be clear, the grand jury has charged Commissioner Beck with crimes that occurred before he was elected to his current public office.”
Beck denied these allegations which include money laundering as well as wire and mail fraud. His attorney, Bill Thomas of W. H. Thomas Firm, said, “Jim strongly denies these charges and we intend to mount a vigorous defense. Jim is proud of the work he did at the [GUA]. Any accusation that he defrauded the GUA is false. He acted legally and in good faith. Under his leadership, for the first time in its history, GUA made millions of dollars of profits.”
According to the indictment, Beck, while working as the General Manager of Operations for the GUA, allegedly convinced four associates to form four separate businesses supposedly supplying necessary services to the GUA, including residential property inspections and water damage mitigation. Beck then allegedly produced false documentation and fraudulent invoicing to approve substantial payments to the four new companies, and under Beck’s direction, his four associates paid the fraudulent invoices from a portion of the money they’d been paid by GUA. Between February 2013 and August 2018, Beck is accused of defrauding the GUA of over $2 million.
Despite Becks’ denial of charges against him, Gov. Brian Kemp called on Beck to resign in a letter which said the indictment “severely undermines your ability to fulfill your official obligations … In light of this connection [to GUA] and the possibility of new revelations, it would be inappropriate for you to continue to hold public office. I ask that you do what is right for our state and step down immediately.”