Former Milledgeville Mayor pleads guilty to insurance fraud

MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A former Milledgeville mayor plead guilty to 12 counts of insurance fraud on Friday.  The GBI accused Richard Bentley, who owned Wilkinson Insurance Company, of issuing policies with fake certificate numbers.

Some of the companies included in the fraudulent insurance coverage were Oconee River Greenway Foundation, Ivy Country Club, Inside Media, Buddy Wrecker, Everett & Dykes Grassing Company, and Harris Trucking.

The Assistant District Attorney for the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit, Skye Gess, says there was clear criminal intent.  She asked Superior Court Judge William Prior to order Bentley to pay the victims more than $50,129 in restitution.

“This is a fair resolution to the case,” explains Gess.  “It is one that we worked very hard to achieve. It was very important to us, from the beginning to get the restitution paid to the victims up front and in full.”

According to the plea agreement, Bentley received ten years probation, a $2,000 fine, and has to complete 160 hours of community service. 

“The probation can terminate after five years, all fines, fees and restitution have to be paid before he can come off probation,” adds Gess.

Prosecutors also told the judge there was no evidence Bentley misused city funds or abused his powers as mayor.

Bentley’s Attorney, Donald Oulsnam, told the court his client has suffered a sever brain injury in October 2013 and has had two brain surgeries since the accident.

“He doesn’t have recollection of certain events,” comments Oulsnam.

Prosecutors told the judge, because of his poor health a probation detention center will probably not take Bentley.

Categories: Baldwin County, Local News

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