GBI, state insurance department investigating Milledgeville Mayor’s insurance agency

MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Department of Insurance are investigating Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley’s insurance company after a customer filed a police report citing “possible fraud.”

The incident report was filed with the Milledgeville Police Department on December 2nd.

It states the complainant, Theodore Harris, arranged to buy commercial insurance for his business, Harris Trucking Inc., in April through Bentley’s business, Wilkinson Insurance Agency. In the report, Harris says he then started receiving “unexpected notifications” from a company called Siuprem, Inc. and billing statements from Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies.

According to the report, Harris started getting notices in July saying his truck company was not carrying workman’s compensation insurance coverage. It also states Harris was working with Bentley’s company to get the coverage and was told it was supposed to be part of the insurance package he set up with Wilkinson Insurance Agency in April. Harris claims he did not receive the coverage or a refund of his money, totaling $8,000.

The police report adds a Wilkinson Insurance employee told Harris “she was unable to refund Harris the money because the account which the payment would come from had been cleared out due to a medical emergency Bentley experienced.”

In October, Bentley stepped down from his mayoral duties due to personal medical reasons.

Harris says he is not able to run his business until he gets the workman’s compensation coverage, according to the incident report.

Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord tells 41NBC he turned the case over to the GBI due to a conflict of interest. The GBI says it received the request on Monday. Eve Rodgers, the Special Agent in Charge of the GBI Milledgeville office, says the agency is meeting with the Georgia Department of Insurance next week to go over the case. She could not release any other information.

Glenn Allen with the Georgia Department of Insurance confirmed a complaint was filed with the agency regarding Bentley’s company. He could not tell us anything about the complaint. Allen says the state has interviewed Bentley’s employees and the investigation is ongoing.

41NBC reached out to Harris Wednesday. He said he wanted to speak to an attorney before talking to us. On Thursday Harris said he did not want to speak to the media.

41NBC reached Mayor Bentley by text message. He referred us to Milledgeville City Attorney Jimmy Jordan. Jordan said he could not comment.

Categories: Baldwin County, Local News

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