ATLANTA - The U.S. attorney's office laid out Tuesday what it says was $2 million fraud case involving Georgia’s insurance commissioner.
Jim Beck’s attorney said they are negotiating when and how Beck will turn himself in.
Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Nicole Carr spent Tuesday going through the 38-count indictment that details alleged insurance fraud by Beck around his work for the Georgia Underwriting Association, which happened before he was elected Georgia’s insurance commissioner.
The GUA was designed to provide Georgia homeowners with high-risk property insurance.
38-count indictment against Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck include charges of wire fraud, money laundering and mail fraud. US Attorney’s Office addressing investigation, indictment this afternoon @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/7kIhEJeweF— Nicole Carr (@NicoleCarrWSB) May 14, 2019
“Holding a powerful position does not shield you from the sins of your past criminal activities. Justice and rule of law will catch up to you eventually,” said U.S. Attorney BJay Pak.
Federal prosecutors told Carr they believe Beck ran a five-year, $2 million scheme using his power as the general manager of the GUA to pay himself, his campaign and his personal debts.
“We began this investigation about 10 months ago, prior to Jim Beck being elected as state insurance commissioner,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Hacker said Tuesday afternoon.
At the time, Beck was the general manager of the Gwinnett County GUA.
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The scheme is alleged to have involved four other companies created by Beck’s friends at his urging.
Some performed actual work for the GUA, but others did not, according to the indictment.
Sometimes the GUA was billed for the work by more than one company. The companies would profit a small amount of the money.
The indictment said the money would ultimately be funneled to Beck through the Georgia Christian Coalition and Creative Consultants, both based in Beck’s hometown of Carrollton.
#Breaking:US Attorney’s Office expects Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck to turn himself into US Marshals by noon tomorrow.Follows 38-count fraud indictment tied to allegedly defrauding GA Underwriting Association.Alleged $2 million scheme prior to taking office @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/FAs3zsCfqD— Nicole Carr (@NicoleCarrWSB) May 14, 2019
“We are here to follow the money to a reasonable conclusion, wherever that money may send us and lead us to,” said Thomas Holloman, with the IRS.
Other business owners mentioned in this indictment are only identified by initials.
There are Georgia and North Carolina ties involved in the investigation, but there no indication from federal prosecutors that more indictments are to come.
As federal prosecutors were laying out the case against Beck, the insurance commissioner and his attorney met with Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne.
“We are negotiating his going into custody and how it will occur,” attorney Bill Thomas said.
Thomas told Winne that he wants to the public to know that Beck is not hiding anything.
“We were aware that the indictment was coming. we deny the allegations, look forward to addressing them in court,” Thomas said.
“Did Jim Beck break the law?” Winne asked Thomas, with Beck sitting next to him.
“Absolutely not,” Thomas said. “For the time that Mr. Beck spent there, the Georgia Underwriters Association made profits for the first time in 40 years."
Thomas told Winne that he instructed Beck not to speak publicly because of the pending charges against him.
“Mr. Beck will be heard through the judicial process,” Thomas said.
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