Revealing testimony in trial of suspended Georgia insurance coverage commissioner

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Explaining hasn’t labored, at the least for Beck. The commissioner, who has been suspended since his 2019 indictment, has been on trial in federal court docket since Tuesday, dealing with dozens of counts associated to his alleged rip-off to defraud the Georgia Underwriting Affiliation. He’s accused of stealing $2 million, and insists he’s harmless.

Beck, a folksy politician well-known in Georgia Republican circles, was the overall supervisor for the Georgia Underwriting Affiliation for about 5 years till he left throughout his marketing campaign. The affiliation, primarily based in Suwanee, is a state-created entity that provides property insurance coverage to owners who’ve hassle getting protection elsewhere.

Testimony from Barfield and others make clear how Beck is alleged to have ran the plot.

Barfield mentioned Beck approached him in 2013, asking if he could be all in favour of making further money writing invoices for a number of firms that had been doing contract work for the underwriting affiliation. Barfield testified he doesn’t know a lot concerning the insurance coverage business and trusted his cousin, who had a few years of expertise.

Steve and Sonya McKaig, who had been shut buddies with Beck and his spouse for many years, testified that Beck approached them, proposing they arrange firms that would do contract work for the Georgia Underwriting Affiliation.

The McKaigs are each veterans of the insurance coverage business. The spouse began an organization to manually course of insurance coverage paperwork. The husband began one with the aim of contacting prospects who wanted assist.

Steve McKaig, 69, smiled whereas recalling how effectively the shoppers obtained his ideas and assist discovering plumbers and carpet cleaners. However McKaig mentioned that was earlier than he went to testify earlier than the grand jury and noticed proof that Beck had lied to him repeatedly.

“I believed in Jim Beck. I believed he was an sincere man who had nice concepts for Georgia,” McKaig mentioned.

Beck’s protection tried to grab on the concept that the service Steve McKaig supplied prospects was helpful. His attorneys have sought to solid him as an innovator who helped prospects and led the affiliation to earnings it hadn’t seen in 40 years.

Protection legal professional Randy Chartash tried to get McKaig to speak extra about how a lot he helped folks.

However every time Chartash requested, McKaig as a substitute talked about Beck’s betrayal.

Voices raised.

“I used to be taken benefit of by somebody I believed was my good friend,” McKaig mentioned.

“Have you ever talked to me concerning the case? Have you ever talked to Mr. Beck about this case?” the legal professional mentioned, getting louder, suggesting McKaig simply had the federal government’s facet of the story.

“I noticed proof within the grand jury,” mentioned McKaig, leaning ahead.

Decide Mark Cohen eased the strain with a smirk: “This isn’t ‘Wrestle Mania.’”

In line with McKaig, Beck instructed him the calls McKaig made to the shoppers ostensibly had the extra objective of pleasing a rich investor. That investor, described as an aged man, had agreed to offer Georgia Underwriting Affiliation with re-insurance. Re-insurance, basically, is insurance coverage that suppliers take out to lower the possibilities of being worn out by giant claims.

Testimony prompt two doable identities of the cash man.

The primary was Jerry Luquire, a former president of the Georgia Christian Coalition. Beck turned president of the group after Luquire.

Luquire was certainly growing older: he was 75 when he died in June 2014. However Beck allegedly stored speaking a couple of rich investor even after Luquire died. (Authorities haven’t given any indication they imagine Luquire was ever concerned.)

The second doable id of the rich investor was Beck’s cousin Barfield. He’s a middle-aged HVAC mechanic who recordsdata revenue taxes for money on the facet.

“Any probability you’re a millionaire investor,” prosecutor Brent Grey requested Barfield.

“No, sir,” Barfield mentioned.

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