By SENTINEL STAFF REPORTS
ATLANTA — Former Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck has been sentenced to federal prison following his conviction for stealAing more than $2,500,000 from the Georgia Underwriting Association (GUA).
Beck, 60, a Douglasville native, lives in Carrollton.
Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine announced the conviction in a release Wednesday. Beck was sentenced to seven years, three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Beck has also been ordered to pay restitution in an amount over $2,619,000 and forfeiture of over $426,000, two pieces of real property and a $2,064.781.85 personal forfeiture money judgment.
Beck was found guilty by a jury on July 22, 2021.
“Former Commissioner Beck has been held accountable for taking advantage of his position of trust at the GUA, stealing millions of dollars from his employer, and then defrauding the IRS,” Erskine said. “At the time he was charged with these offenses in 2019, he was the newly elected Georgia Insurance Commissioner. Thankfully, the FBI and IRS uncovered these crimes before Beck got the chance to do even more damage as a statewide public official.”
“Beck’s actions were full of greed and selfishness as he took complete advantage of his employer (GUA) and friends who held him in a high position of trust,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “This sentencing should serve as a warning that no matter how elaborate a scheme, the FBI and our partners will use all resources necessary to hold deceitful individuals accountable for their actions and bring them to justice.”
“Beck abused his position as the General Manager of Operations for the GUA while engaging in a series of fraudulent transactions devised to siphon funds from a worthwhile organization. IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to have assisted our partners in unraveling the fraud actions undertaken by Beck for his personal benefit,” said James E. Dorsey, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation Atlanta Field Office. “Pooling the skills of each agency makes a formidable team as we investigate allegations of wrong-doing. This sentencing demonstrates our collective efforts to enforce the law and ensure public trust.”
According to Erskine, the charges and other information presented in court:
From January 2012 until Beck was sworn in as Insurance Commissioner on Jan. 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 homeowners located throughout Georgia. In addition to premiums collected from its customers, GUA is also funded by issuing assessments to the association members, which include every insurer authorized to write any form of property insurance in Georgia.
While Beck served as General Manager of GUA, he also maintained controlling financial interests in two businesses known as Creative Consultants and the GA Christian Coalition. Beginning in 2013, Beck talked four associates — all of whom were either friends or family members--into forming four separate businesses that supposedly supplied necessary services, including residential property inspections and water damage mitigation, to GUA. Then, through an elaborate system of fraudulent invoicing which included producing false documentation and concealing the truth from his four associates, Beck regularly approved substantial GUA payments to the four companies. Beck then prepared fraudulent invoices from Creative Consultants and GA Christian Coalition for services that were never performed, and, at Beck’s direction, his four associates paid the fraudulent invoices from the money they had been paid from GUA. Between February 2013 and August 2018, Beck stole more than $2,500,000 from GUA.
Beck was also sentenced for his convictions on four counts of tax fraud for filing false federal income tax returns for the years 2014 through 2018. Beck’s tax returns for those years were fraudulent because they substantially overstated business expenses and substantially understated business profits for Beck’s Creative Consultants and GA Christian Coalition. The tax loss to the IRS was more than $350,000.
This case was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brent Alan Gray and Sekret T. Sneed prosecuted the case.