Last year during the 2018 campaign, I told my radio listeners they should avoid supporting Jim Beck, the former head of the Georgia Christian Coalition, in his bid to be Georgia Insurance Commissioner. Sources told me he was under investigation and an indictment would be coming.
It did not happen prior to the election and Beck, who largely self-funded his campaign with some really great attention getting commercials, went into office.
Yesterday, the Trump Administration operating through the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, indicted Beck on 38 counts.
According to the indictment, while Beck served as head of the state organized Georgia Underwriters Association (“GUA”), an entity that insured high risk properties, he allegedly had several companies created that invoiced the GUA for work. Beck would approve the invoices, allow the corporate owners to keep 10% of the money, then pay 90% to consulting companies owned by Beck.
Beck also allegedly passed GUA funds through a third party entity into the Christian Coalition of Georgia.
It appears some of the work was legitimate, but a good bit of it was for property inspections that were never completed. The indictment notes that Beck used a personal email account and the federal grand jury had those emails, presumably from the third parties who created the outside companies.
Thus far, those people are not being indicted and the grand jury allegations suggest one or more of them actually did not know they were participating in the alleged embezzlement scheme.
Ironically, the indictment suggests Beck could not have self-funded his campaign for insurance commissioner without the money from the allegations. The extent of the scheme purported exceeded $2 million.
For his part, Jim Beck denies his guilt and says he will fight the charges. Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Governor, can form a review panel to see if Beck should be relieved of his duties temporarily. I suspect that will happen given the nature of the charges.