Jim Beck

ATLANTA – Former Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck was sentenced to more than seven years in prison Tuesday for fraud and money laundering.

A federal indictment charged Beck with 37 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and tax fraud for embezzling more than $2.5 million from the Georgia Underwriting Association in Suwanee. He served as the association’s general manager of operations before being elected insurance commissioner in 2018.

Beck, 60, a Republican, didn’t serve long before Gov. Brian Kemp suspended him after the indictment was handed down in May 2019. However, he continued to receive his salary of $195,000 a year while on suspension.

The governor subsequently appointed Doraville Police Chief John King to replace Beck. King will be seeking a full four-year term next year.

While Beck worked for the Georgia Underwriting Association, he also maintained controlling financial interests in two businesses: Creative Consultants and the Georgia Christian Coalition. Beginning in 2013, Beck talked four associates into forming four separate businesses that supposedly supplied necessary services, including residential property inspections and water damage mitigation, to the underwriting association.

Then, through an elaborate system of fraudulent invoicing, Beck approved substantial payments to the four companies. He then prepared fraudulent invoices from Creative Consultants and the Georgia Christian Coalition for services that were never performed.

“Beck’s actions were full of greed and selfishness as he took complete advantage of his employer and friends who held him in a high position of trust,” said Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta office. “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 has remained free on bail. However, he has been mostly confined to his home in Carrollton.

The prosecution had sought a 10-year prison sentence for Beck. U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen sentenced him to serve a sentence of 87 months.

Beck also was ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in restitution, forfeit more than $426,000, two pieces of real property and a $2 million personal forfeiture money judgment.  

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.