Richard Bentley’s misdeeds were originally found out when the owner of a trucking company complained to authorities about paying for a worker’s compensation insurance policy that didn’t exist.
Bentley misappropriated insurance premiums from seven clients and issued fraudulent certificates of insurance to another five. The former advisor was required to make restitution as part of his guilty plea. He paid back a total of $51,000 to the seven clients whose money he took.
“We discovered through the course of the investigation that there were other people we didn’t find criminal intent with, but there were other potential victims and he paid to cover their costs,” said Skye Gess, assistant district attorney for the Ocmulgee Judicial District.
As a result of the restitution Bradley was given 10 years’ probation, a $2,000 fine and 160 hours of community service.
Originally, the former advisor had tried to make an Alford plea, which would have allowed him to plead guilty without admitting guilt. The assistant district attorney wasn’t having anything to do with such a plea.
“The state was opposed to that plea being entered, and the judge said he was not going to allow the Alford plea,” Gess said.
Bentley, who spent 10 years as mayor of Milledgeville, did not use his office to carry out any wrongdoings, the investigation found.
“This is misbehaviour, and the folks who handled this on behalf of our office took it seriously, but there is no public corruption,” District Attorney Stephen Bradley said.
Richard Bentley originally owned the Wilkinson Insurance Agency in Milledgeville before becoming mayor of the small Georgia town. He was forced to resign as mayor in February of this year because of health issues.
A former insurance agent and mayor of a small Georgia town has pleaded guilty to 12 counts of insurance fraud after an investigation led to charges from the Ocmulgee Judicial District.