“I am, in fact, innocent of these charges,” Beck wrote. “In these circumstances, it would be inappropriate for me to resign as commissioner of insurance.”
Beck, a folksy former top staffer in the Department of Insurance and onetime president of the Georgia Christian Coalition, swept into office in 2018 despite the fact that he was being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office after media reports suggested he held full-time state and private-sector jobs at the same time.
He took over the agency, which regulates the insurance and small-loan industries and investigates suspected arson cases, in January 2019.
The U.S. attorney’s office announced in early May 2019 a 38-count indictment, charging Beck with fraud and money laundering in an elaborate scheme to defraud the Georgia Underwriting Association. With the stolen cash, the Republican allegedly paid his credit card bills and taxes — and even helped fund the 2018 campaign that landed him in office.
Beck was the general manager of operations for the association, a state-created marketplace based in Suwanee that provides high-risk property insurance to Georgia homeowners having trouble obtaining coverage.
A federal grand jury later added an additional count of mail fraud and four new counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns for the 2014 through 2017 tax years.
The new indictment alleged Beck listed more than $1 million worth of false business expenses on his tax returns for two of his businesses, Creative Consultants and the Georgia Christian Coalition, in an effort to conceal the embezzlement scheme, according to a release from the U.S. attorney’s office.
Beck has denied the charges.
The U.S. attorney’s office said Beck lied to close friends he’s known for 25 years and a family member to get them to create companies to send invoices to his then-employer. The invoices were often for work that wasn’t actually done, and Beck funneled the money back to himself, according to the initial indictment.
Three former Department of Insurance employees later sued the state and Beck, saying they were ousted as retaliation because he thought they provided information about him to state and federal officials and the media.
While he is suspended, Georgia is paying for two insurance commissioners. A few days after Kemp suspended Beck, he appointed King, a longtime Doraville police chief, to serve as acting commissioner.
King has already begun campaigning for 2022. If Beck is acquitted, he could be joining King on the campaign trail.
The U.S. attorney’s office announced in early May 2019 a 38-count indictment, charging Beck with fraud and money laundering in an elaborate scheme to defraud the Georgia Underwriting Association.
With the stolen cash, the Republican allegedly paid his credit card bills and taxes — and even helped fund the 2018 campaign that landed him in office.