Grand jury indicts Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck
ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - A federal grand jury in Atlanta handed down an indictment Tuesday against Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Jim Beck.
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The 38-count indictment alleges wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering.
The indictment alleges Beck defrauded a state-established insurance company by helping set up fake companies to produce fraudulent invoices.
Beck is also accused of involving the Georgia Christian Coalition in the fraud scheme.
In total, the indictment alleges Beck used fraudulent schemes to embezzle more than $2 million between 2013 and 2018.
U.S. Attorney BJay Pak held a news conference discussing the indictment at 3:30 p.m. at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta.
Officials say Beck has until noon on Wednesday to turn himself in to investigators.
In a news release to FOX 5 Atlanta, Beck’s defense attorneys denied the charges against their client.
Attorney Bill Thomas said, “Jim strongly denies these charges, and we intend to mount a vigorous defense. Jim is justifiably proud of the work that he did at the Georgia Underwriting Association (“GUA”). Any accusation that he defrauded GUA is false.”
Thomas added, "He acted legally and in good faith. Under his leadership, for the first time in its history, GUA made millions of dollars of profits. Jim looks forward to clearing his good name." Thomas added “We are also pleased to note that these allegations do not relate to Jim’s performance as the Commissioner of Insurance where, among other things, he has led the fight against insurance fraud and for transparency. The allegations relate solely to his prior work experience at a private, non-governmental association for insurance companies. Jim looks forward to continuing his work as Insurance Commissioner protecting Georgia consumers.”
Thomas is a former federal prosecutor. Beck’s other attorney, Doug Chalmers, represents public officials in government investigations and political law matters.
Beck was elected to statewide office in November.
According to his biography on the Insurance Commissioner’s website, the Carrollton native once served as Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff for then-Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.
Beck has been the subject of several FOX 5 I-Team investigations in the past year.
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