Stealing from public insurance programs is a crime against society’s most vulnerable people. When a public official – especially an elected official – defrauds public programs, the betrayal is that much greater.
That was the case with a Georgia mayor who pleaded guilty in December to 30 counts of fraud against the state workers’ compensation insurance program for people who are injured on the job and can’t work.
Brad Yates was the mayor of Franklin, a town of about 1,000 residents 60 miles southwest of Atlanta. He pleaded guilty to stealing more than $11,000 from people who believed they were paying for workers’ compensation insurance policies. (Workers comp policies are required under state law for organizations with at least three employees.)
According to prosecutors, Yates fraudulently produced certificates of insurance that led victims to believe they were covered under the program. When they made payments on the fake policies, Yates kept the money. (Let’s hope that keeps him from ever running for office again.)
Yates negotiated a plea deal that, rather than put him behind bars, gave him 20 years of probation and requires him to pay $24,621 to the victims. (Sounds like it helps to be a small-town mayor in such a case.) The district attorney’s office issued a statement that said they “prioritized making these victims whole as soon as possible over sending the defendant to prison.”
Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from the article, “Former Georgia Mayor Pleads Guilty to Insurance Fraud,” published Dec. 4, 2019 on the Associated Press wire service.
FRANKLIN (AP) — A former Georgia mayor pleaded guilty Tuesday to 30 counts of insurance fraud after stealing over $11,000 from victims who believed they were paying for insurance policies.
Former Franklin Mayor Brad Yates, in a negotiated plea deal, was sentenced to 20 years of probation and was ordered to pay $24,621 to victims in restitution, the Times-Georgian has reported.