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Indicted Georgia insurance commissioner Jim Beck suspends himself
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Republican state insurance commissioner nominee Jim Beck speaks during a Brian Kemp visit at Longstreet Cafe on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. Beck has since been indicted on fraud charges. - photo by Austin Steele

Georgia’s insurance commissioner says he will voluntarily suspend himself from office two days after being indicted on federal charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering.

A 38-count indictment accuses Jim Beck of orchestrating an elaborate invoicing scheme to steal more than $2 million from his former employer before being elected in November.

Beck says he sent a letter to fellow Republican Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday voluntarily suspending himself. Kemp had called for Beck to resign.

Under his self-imposed suspension, Beck will continue to receive his $120,000 salary.

Beck has maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

At the same hearing a judge imposed a $25,000 bond and banned Beck from conducting business with his former employer, the Georgia Underwriters Association.

Beck was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday, charged with a long list of crimes. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the 38-count indictment.

The indictment alleges a wide-ranging scheme conducted through several companies that included fraudulent billing and the sale of false sponsorships. The proceeds — in excess of $2 million — were used to pay for personal credit card bills, income tax bills and even to fund Beck’s election campaign, according to the indictment.

Beck, a Republican from Carrollton, was elected insurance commissioner in 2018.

The charges stem from Beck’s time as general manager of operations for the Georgia Underwriting Association, which was created to provide high-risk property insurance to Georgia homeowners. Beck is accused of devising a scheme to defraud the association of millions of dollars.

Bill Thomas, a lawyer for Beck, said in an emailed statement Tuesday that Beck “strongly denies” the allegations.

“He acted legally and in good faith,” Thomas wrote, adding that Beck “looks forward to clearing his good name.”

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