What You Need to Know
- Beck was elected Georgia's insurance commissioner in 2018 and suspended in May 2019.
- Prosecutors say Beck controlled companies that billed the GUA for services while he was the GUA's general manager.
- One of Beck's lawyers said his client is evaluating his options.
A federal jury in Atlanta has found suspended Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim C. Beck guilty on 37 counts of money laundering, wire fraud and mail fraud in a five-year scheme prosecutors said drained more than $2 million from the Georgia Underwriting Association, where Beck served as general manager before being elected in 2019.
Beck, 59, remains free on $25,000 bail and is restricted to his home in Carrollton except to attend Sunday church services, doctor’s appointments or visits with his lawyers.
U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen has set sentencing for Oct. 8.
After an eight-day trial, the jury took less than two hours to find Beck guilty on all counts.
The prosecution team includes Brent Gray, deputy chief of the Public Integrity and Special Matters Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sekret Sneed.
A Department of Justice spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Beck’s Team’s Reactions
“Mr. Beck and his trial team are obviously disappointed in the jury’s verdict,” lead defense attorney Bill Thomas said in an email. “We believe we presented a strong defense as to why Mr. Beck’s actions benefited the Georgia Underwriters Association and did not constitute fraud as alleged by the government. The jury obviously did not see it our way.”
Before the sentencing hearing, “Mr. Beck along with his trial team will be reviewing this matter, the jury’s verdict, evaluating his options and making a determination as to how to move forward in this matter,” said the W.H. Thomas Firm principal, whose co-counsel includes Randy Chartash of Chartash Law — like Thomas, a former U.S. prosecutor — and political law specialist Douglas Chalmers of Chalmers & Adams.
According to the indictment and other sources, Beck used the Georgia Christian Coalition — which he chaired — and another company he controlled, Creative Consultants, to siphon money from the GUA to four shell companies he set up.
The GUA is a state-mandated residual insurer that provides basic property and liability insurance to property owners that have difficulty finding other coverage, and is governed by a board appointed by the insurance commissioner. It collects premiums from its customers and issues assessments to association members that include every insurer authorized to write property insurance policies in Georgia.