Former Insurance Commissioner Sentenced for Fraud

Georgia’s former insurance commissioner will spend more than seven years in prison.

Jim Beck accepted responsibility Tuesday for a $2.5 million fraud.

U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen sentenced Beck to seven years, three months in federal prison, less than the 10 years federal prosecutors had originally aimed for, but more than the five years Beck’s lawyers argued was enough.

Cohen also ordered Beck to pay $2.6 million in restitution and to serve three years of supervised release after he gets out of prison.

Beck, 60, remains free on bail and is expected to report to prison in December.

Jurors convicted Beck in July on 37 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and tax fraud.

The charges stemmed from Beck’s scheme to channel more than $2.5 million from the Georgia Underwriting Association through a series of companies to his own bank accounts.

Beck managed the state-chartered private insurer of last resort for years before being elected insurance commissioner.

In a statement released Tuesday, current Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John King, said that with Beck’s sentencing, his office can now move on from what he called “this unfortunate chapter.”

“It is my hope that, with today’s sentencing, we can now finally move on from this unfortunate chapter and focus on continuing the great work we have accomplished since Governor Kemp appointed me to lead this Agency over two years ago.

“During that time, we have made a number of personnel moves, ensuring we have ethical, capable leaders in the most critical positions of this Agency. We completely revamped our Criminal Investigations Division, growing our force of post-certified officers dedicated to cracking down on fraud across the insurance industry. And we have emboldened our Consumer Services team, recovering over $22 million for Georgia families.

“As a former Police Chief and a current Military Officer, I’ve dedicated my life to service, and I am committed to continuing to lead this Agency with integrity. Today, I’m thankful we can now turn the page and focus all of our efforts on continuing the momentum we’ve established on behalf of all Georgia consumers.”