ATLANTA (CBS46) – Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Jim Beck was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on multiple counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering. The unsealed indictment said Beck’s alleged scheme ran from roughly February 2013 to June 2018.
(CBS46 will be live at 3:30 with a press conference on the case from the U.S. Attorney's Office)
According to the indictment, Beck allegedly committed fraud against the Georgia Underwriting Association (GUA). Specifically, Beck allegedly used multiple “companies” formed at his behest to help carry out schemes totaling more than $2 million.
The companies would bill and shift hundreds of thousands of dollars amongst themselves with Beck eventually getting 90 percent of all the billed “work.” The work included a scheme involving the Georgia Christian Coalition.
Under the charges, the indictment states Beck used the money to pay off a credit card, fund personal investment and retirement accounts, put it in personal savings accounts, and fund the “Jim Beck for Georgia, Inc.” statewide election campaign account. Federal authorities also said Beck used thousands of dollars to “purchase and improve personal rental property and to pay his personal state federal income taxes.”
If convicted, the federal government is seeking the “proceeds obtained as a result of the offenses alleged” in the indictment along with prison.
The full indictment can be read below.
Beck's attorney, William Thomas, issued a statement that read in part:
"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 falst. He acted legally and in good faith. Under his leadership, for the first time in its history GUA made million of dollars of profits. Jim looks forward to clearing his good name."
Commissioner Beck's office issued a statement that stated:
"The accusations that have been made against Commissioner Beck today have no bearing on his service as an elected official to the people of Georgia. The Commissioner maintains his innocence and he is entitled to the same presumption of innocence that every citizen of Georgia walks into a courtroom with when accused of a crime. The Department is focused on fulfilling the vital mission we have to protect Georgia consumers. The incredible employees of our Department will get up tomorrow morning and go back to work, including Commissioner Beck."