Head of insurance regulators in Georgia implicated in $2 million fraud scheme

Wess Haubrich

The prosecution has rested their case in the trial of former commissioner Jim Beck

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Commissioner Jim BeckGeorgia Department of Insurance

It’s been a long trial in the federal courts for former Georgia insurance regulator Jim Beck with the prosecution resting their case a day ago.

Beck stands accused of orchestrating a multi-million-dollar fraud scheme to bleed the company he ran for two million dollars.

The scheme Beck allegedly used is a typical one you’ll see in the annals of graft and financial crime. Jim Beck ran the private Georgia Underwriting Association before he became a top insurance man for the state of Georgia. The GUA served a hemorrhaging market for insurance in people who could not, for whatever reason, buy conventional insurance.

While at the GUA, Beck siphoned the cash by billing contractors who would, in turn, send cash to shell companies Beck owned or was intimately connected to. He then would simply take the cash he wanted. The allegations here are thus two-pronged: 1- He allegedly defrauded the GUA. Almost none of the legitimate operations of GUA were allegedly occurring. For instance, a cousin of Beck’s was allegedly supposed to be helping insurers determine the risk of insuring potential clients. Yet, he claimed to have never done such work. He claimed he was directed to make phony invoices for Beck, though. 2- He defrauded the government itself using shell companies to launder the ill-gotten cash. Apparently, he also asked some legitimate companies to send fake invoices as well.

What is likely most insidious here was the allegation that Beck stole a small sum in light of the $2 million – only $4271.00 – to buy yard signs for his campaign. His source for these funds? The Georgia Arson Control program which gives grants to arson investigators and rewards to people who report it.

This became even more insidious when the feds came knocking on Beck’s door. He directed a subordinate at GUA to call the sign company and ask them to claim the signage was a donation. They refused to do that.

Watch this space for more as Beck’s trial unfolds.

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Former editor, now dogged-maverick journalist and researcher covering the crime beat. I examine the weird, absurd, and downright infamous in American crime both here and at Real Monsters podcast. Contact: wess@realmonsters.live

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