ATLANTA – Suspended Insurance coverage Commissioner Jim Beck took the witness stand for a second day in his federal fraud trial. Beck informed jurors his testimony “is my final likelihood” to steer them and the broader world that federal investigators ignored the reality in a misguided rush to indict him.
Beck is accused of being the mastermind in a scheme to steal greater than $2.5 million from state-created insurance coverage firm Georgia Underwriting Affiliation. Beck managed GUA earlier than he took workplace because the state’s prime insurance coverage regulator in 2019. He was charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, cash laundering and tax fraud months after taking workplace.
After revealing the identify of a mysterious pc programmer on the stand on Tuesday throughout direct examination, it was the prosecution’s alternative on Wednesday to attempt to unravel who the mysterious Jerry Jordan is.
Beck informed the court docket that he couldn’t discover Jordan, a person who he known as a key witness and will clarify the massive sums of money exchanged fingers between Beck and his cousin, Matthew Barfield. Barfield testified final week that, at Beck’s route, he arrange his arrange an organization to invoice GUA for residence inspections. He informed the jury that he thought Beck’s firm Inventive Consulting did the precise inspections, he solely did paperwork.
Beck testified on Tuesday a separate firm he managed did reliable additional work for GUA and informed the jury he paid a pc programmer he had met at a restaurant named Jerry Jordan giant portions of money to write down software program applications to skim residence inspection knowledge from public databases.
He mentioned he initially paid Jordan $40,000 in money. He mentioned, later, he personally, manually entered the info Jordan collected into GUA computer systems for about three years.
Beck informed the jury that he received the go-ahead from the then-board chairman of GUA, John Houser, to create an organization to do residence inspection analysis for GUA. However earlier within the trial, Houser testified he knew nothing about any of Beck’s corporations.
The suspended insurance coverage commissioner had no remark about Jordan’s id apart from to inform the FOX 5 I-Workforce, “Y’all have a pleasant day,” as he entered the federal courthouse for his second day of testimony.
Throughout that testimony, Jerry Jordan’s identify stored popping up. Beck mentioned Jordan had offered the pc brainpower to collect knowledge that GUA used to cost prospects extra and reduce the prices the property insurer of final resort paid others to share in its dangers. These steps, Beck testified, assist rework the state-chartered insurer from a persistent money-loser to a worthwhile entity.
“The federal government’s principle of the case is based on there being a hurt,” Beck mentioned. “In actuality, there was a profit. So I’d counsel to you, if there isn’t any hurt, there isn’t any crime.”
However Beck admitted he didn’t know the place Jordan was, didn’t know the right identify of Jordan’s firm, didn’t have a written contract with Jordan, didn’t have the laptop computer pc Beck mentioned Jordan offered him, didn’t actually have a Jordan enterprise card. Beck mentioned he misplaced monitor of Jordan after he moved “out West” to pursue a lady he met on-line. He mentioned he and his authorized staff has searched for 2 years, however couldn’t discover him.
“He’s the key behind each Inexperienced Tech and Paperless,” Grey mentioned, naming the 2 corporations prosecutors say Beck invented to embezzle cash from his employer.
Beck additionally testified that he paid Jordan in money he had amassed and saved in a security deposit field and at residence, explaining why GUA-linked funds from Inexperienced Expertise Companies and Paperless Options by no means left his financial institution accounts.
“I agree with you it’s weird, however on the finish of the day I used to be paid to do the work and the work was finished,” Beck mentioned of the money funds he mentioned he made.
Beck admitted on cross-examination he had no proof of any work he did with Jerry Jordan. No laptop computer, bounce drive, emails, or recordsdata. Beck mentioned it’s as a result of the enterprise was working years in the past and he didn’t preserve it.
Beck argued that the fundamental flaw within the case is that FBI brokers concluded that “Jerry” solely referred to Jerry Luquire of Columbus — Beck’s fellow Christian Coalition activist who died in 2014 — as an alternative of believing there might have been one other Jerry. Beck testified that he met Jordan after Luquire ran into Jordan in a restaurant and launched him to Beck.
“Each assertion you are taking out of my mouth, you are taking as a continuation of a lie, when it’s a continuation of the reality,” Beck mentioned. “If folks imagine you, I’ve been mendacity for 5 years.”
Grey centered, ultimately, not on Beck’s supposed relationship with Jordan, however on emails that Beck wrote posing as Matt Barfield, the person who ready the invoices for Inexperienced Expertise Companies, which collected funds from GUA and a husband-and-wife set of contractors to GUA.
“We’re speaking about whether or not you inform the reality,” Grey mentioned, in questioning why Beck wrote emails signing his identify as “Matt,” with “Matt” even at one level together with Beck in correspondence.
“It didn’t hassle me as a result of I used to be conducting enterprise on a domains I owned and emails I owned,” Beck mentioned.
Grey drilled Beck on why he by no means informed GUA staff or a few of his contractors that he had a monetary curiosity within the work. Beck testified he received greater than 10% of the cash paid by GUA, and in some instances considerably extra.
“The monetary association was not related to the work,” Beck testified. “I’ve a number of buddies I don’t focus on my monetary preparations with.”
Beck mentioned these buddies turned on him and testified for the prosecution as a result of they have been intimidated by the federal investigation and jumped to the mistaken conclusion.
“Folks do what folks do when the federal authorities begins knocking on their door, and generally they put two and two collectively and get six,” Beck mentioned.
Grey, throughout the hours of cross-examination, repeated time and again to the jury, “I suppose we’ll must take your phrase for it”
Beck at occasions received testy throughout his testimony attacking the federal government, the FBI, saying they received caught up in their very own narrative and didn’t take the case far sufficient and at one level mentioned, “The wheels got here off this investigation.” And at one level he regarded up on the prosecutor and mentioned, “Mr. Grey, I don’t suppose you perceive the insurance coverage business.” Grey responded, “I don’t most likely suppose I’ll ever perceive what you’re saying.”
Extra testimony is predicted on Thursday.
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The Related Press contributed to this report