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Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck has agreed to voluntarily suspend himself from office pending the outcome of his criminal case following his indictment on wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering charges for allegedly stealing more than $2 million from his former employer, the Georgia Underwriting Association.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp asked Mr. Beck to resign his position on Wednesday following news of the 38-count indictment, which alleges that Mr. Beck stole the money during the five years just prior to his election to statewide office in November 2018.
Mr. Beck professed his innocence in a letter responding to the governor’s request on Thursday.
“In the circumstances, it would be inappropriate for me to resign as Commissioner of Insurance,” Mr. Beck said. “Nonetheless, I recognize the importance of having a Commissioner of Insurance who is able fully to devote all his time carrying out the duties of managing the Department of Insurance and serving the citizens of Georgia. In the coming months, it will unfortunately be necessary for me to spend a significant amount of my time defending myself against these false charges. Preparing for that trial will be a significant distraction from my public duties.”
The voluntary suspension would be terminated upon Mr. Beck’s acquittal at trial, according to his letter.
The governor issued an executive order immediately suspending Mr. Beck on Thursday.
Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering for allegedly stealing more than $2 million from his former employer, the Georgia Underwriting Association.