Former Georgia insurance commissioner Jim Beck will have to wait a little longer to find out about his fate, after his sentencing date was pushed back to Tuesday. Federal prosecutors are now asking him to serve 10 years in prison and pay fines and restitution of up to $ 5 million.
Beck was convicted in July of embezzling nearly $ 3 million from the Georgia Underwriting Association, an insurer of last resort he ran that wrote policies for homeowners struggling to find coverage. He was elected state insurance commissioner in 2018 and was indicted just weeks after taking office in 2019.
Prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum filed last week with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia that about $ 2.5 million of Beck’s restitution payments are expected to go to Cincinnati Insurance Co. The carrier had paid. as much to the underwriting association to cover its losses from Beck’s multi-year fraud scheme, prosecutors said.
Beck is expected to pay an additional $ 358,000 to the Internal Revenue Service for taxes he avoided in his fraud and money laundering actions, the US attorney’s office said. To help cover costs, Beck is now expected to confiscate four assets in the Atlanta area, as well as bank accounts that hold hundreds of thousands of dollars, U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen said in a preliminary order signed Friday.
Beck’s attorney William Thomas of Atlanta argued that the amount owed to Cincinnati Insurance should be reduced because the consultants Beck hired did a certain amount of legitimate work for the underwriting association, called GUA. U.S. Assistant Prosecutors Brent Alan Gray and Sekret Sneed agreed that Beck organized a small amount of actual work, but Beck’s other claims were purely fictitious.
“It is quite clear that Beck’s insistence that GUA was spending millions of dollars on legitimate services provided by Green Tech, Lucca Lu, Mitigation Solutions and Paperless Solutions was just a ridiculous story,” the prosecutors wrote to the judge.
In fact, Beck’s sentence should be kept near the maximum allowed by sentencing guidelines, precisely because Beck has repeatedly lied on the witness stand and attempted to obstruct justice, Gray said and Sneed.
Beck, a former chairman of the Georgia Christian Coalition, bought the homes and other property with money he siphoned off from the GUA through an elaborate money laundering and shell company operation, a declared the government. Beck has also been accused of using association funds to finance his campaign for the post of insurance commissioner.
Beck received a six-figure salary at the underwriting association. He then continued to receive his salary as an insurance commissioner even after being dismissed from his post. This prompted Georgian lawmakers to draft a constitutional amendment that would suspend the salaries of state officials who face criminal charges. Voters will decide on the amendment next year.
His attorney said Beck has done a valuable service, turning GUA from a longtime money loser into a profitable business, according to trial reports. The lawyer requested that the prison term be limited to around seven years. Federal guidelines allow as many as 108 months and up to 135 months, prosecutors said.
Beck, 60, was allowed to stay out of jail until his sentencing date, originally scheduled for Friday.
Prior to being appointed head of the underwriting association in 2012, Beck worked for a number of state agencies and was a key member of the insurance department.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has suspended Beck after being indicted and appointed John King, a former Atlanta police officer, to take over the insurance department.
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