Jim Beck has suspended himself as insurance commissioner. (State of Georgia)
ATLANTA — Facing more than 30 indictments of wire and mail fraud and money laundering, Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck suspended himself from office Thursday until his case’s outcome. Beck’s announcement came days after he surrendered to federal officials. Under the arrangement, Beck will continue collecting his $120,000 salary.
The 38-count indictment alleges that Beck stole more than $2,000,000 from his former employer, the Georgia Underwriting Association (GUA), during the five years just prior to Beck’s election last November. Beck surrendered to authorities Wednesday morning.
From January 2012 until Beck was sworn in as insurance commissioner on January 14, 2019, Beck worked as the General Manager of Operations for the GUA after being elected to that post by the GUA board of directors. GUA, located in Suwanee, Georgia, is an insurance association created as part of the Georgia Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) law to provide high-risk property insurance to Georgia homeowners. GUA is also funded by issuing assessments to the association members, which include every insurer authorized to write any form of property insurance in the state.
While Beck served as general manager, federal prosecutors said he also maintained controlling financial interests in two businesses, Creative Consultants and the Georgia Christian Coalition. Beginning in 2013, Beck allegedly talked four associates into forming four separate businesses which supposedly supplied necessary services including residential property inspections and water damage mitigation to GUA.
Then, prosecutors said Beck, through fraudulent invoicing and false documentation, approved substantial GUA payments to the four new companies. Beck then allegedly sent fraudulent invoices from Creative Consultants and the Georgia Christian Coalition to companies A, B, C, and D. At Beck’s alleged direction, his four associates paid the fraudulent invoices from a portion of the money they had been paid by GUA. All told, between February 2013 and August 2018, Beck allegedly defrauded GUA out of more than $2,000,000.