A federal grand jury has indicted Georgia Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner Jim Beck on multiple counts of wire and mail fraud and money laundering. He surrendered to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday morning.
Beck is accused of stealing more $2 million from Suwanee-based Georgia Underwriting Association while he worked for the association for five years before he was elected as the insurance commissioner in November. The indictment against Beck, who took office earlier this year, includes 38 counts.
There are 12 counts of wire fraud, 12 counts of mail fraud and 14 counts of money laundering.
“The grand jury seeks to hold Commissioner Beck accountable for taking advantage of his position at the Georgia Underwriting Association,” U.S. Attorney BJay Pak said in a statement. “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 served as Georgia Underwriting Association’s general manager of operations from January 2012 until Jan. 14 of this year. The association was created through the Georgia Fair Access to Insurance Requirements law and is funded with premiums collected from customers as well as issuing assessments to its members.
The U.S. Attorney’s office said Beck talked four people into creating businesses which were intended to appear to provide services such as residential property inspections and water damage mitigation to Georgia Underwriting Association.
Beck also had two controlling interests in two businesses, Creative Consultants and the Georgia Christian Coalition, according to federal prosecutors.
Federal officials allege Beck used false documentation to make payments from Georgia Underwriting Association to the four new companies while “concealing the truth from his four associates.” He is accused of then allegedly sending fraudulent invoices from Creative Consultants and Georgia Christian Coalition to the four companies.
This continued from February 2013 until August 2018, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The FBI was involved in the investigation into Beck, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“The FBI investigation found that Beck abused the trust of friends and his employer (GUA), in an elaborate scheme to enrich himself at GUA’s expense,” Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta Chris Hacker said in a statement.
“The indictment is a testament to the fact that the FBI will expend all resources necessary to hold those who seek to enrich themselves through fraud and deceit, accountable for their actions.”