BREAKING: Georgia Insurance Commissioner indicted in fraud case

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck has been indicted on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering.

A federal grand jury on Tuesday issued a 38 count indictment against the former insurance lobbyist and long-time leader of the Georgia Christian Coalition, alleging he committed fraud through a series of insurance-related schemes.

The proceeds of the alleged schemes earned him millions, some of which he even used for his campaign for statewide office, the indictment says. It says he spent thousands on personal expenses, investments, improving personal rental property and to pay his state and federal income taxes.

Beck, whose lawyers said he strongly denies the allegations, has worked in various positions in state government over the past few decades and has been well known at the Capitol.

Beck has hired William “Bill” Thomas, a former federal prosecutor, and Douglas Chalmers, who has represented several GOP politicians in ethics cases, to represent him.

“We intend to mount a vigorous defense,” Thomas said Tuesday. “Jim looks forward to continuing his work as Insurance Commissioner protecting Georgia consumers.”

The Republican was elected insurance commissioner last year.