Beck has denied the charges. While he is suspended and fighting the charges, Beck continues to receive a $120,000-a-year state salary.
“Jim strongly maintains his innocence, and he denies the new charges,” said William “Bill” Thomas, his lead defense attorney. “He does not intend to succumb to the government’s pressure to get him to admit to wrongdoing that he did not commit.
“He is justifiably proud of the work that he did at the Georgia Underwriting Association. Any accusation that he defrauded GUA or the Georgia Arson Control Program is false.”
Thomas added, “Jim looks forward to presenting his case to a jury and clearing his good name.”
U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak alleged in May that Beck, an ex-insurance lobbyist and former leader of the Georgia Christian Coalition, used the stolen cash to pay personal credit card bills and taxes, and pump money into his 2018 campaign for insurance commissioner.
The evidence shows 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, Pak said. The invoices were often for work that wasn't actually done, and Beck funneled the money back to himself, according to the indictment.
According to the new, superseding indictment, Beck served as the chief financial officer of Georgia Arson Control Program Inc. GAC is a subsidiary of the Underwriting Association and partially funded by it.
The program is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting arson and celebrating the efforts of Georgia’s first responders, the U.S. Attorney’s Office release said. Georgia’s insurance commissioner also serves as the state’s fire marshal.
The new indictment said that, in connection with Beck’s campaign for insurance commissioner, he fraudulently used GAC funds to pay for 1,500 campaign signs. It said that on Jan. 11, 2018, Beck received a $4,271 check from the program through the mail, in violation of mail fraud statutes.
The indictment also alleges that Beck aided and assisted in the preparation of false tax returns. The documents overstated business expenses and understated business profits for Creative Consultants and the Georgia Christian Coalition.
In an effort to conceal a $2 million embezzlement scheme, federal prosecutors said, Beck amplified business expenses to reduce his net business income. By inflating his business expenses by more than $1 million, Beck evaded income taxes due on the embezzled funds he received, the indictment says.