Glynn County Commissioner Bob Coleman and his wife Sherry, indicted by a Glynn County grand jury Wednesday, face possible prison time that includes a mandatory minimum, should they be convicted of any of the six counts of insurance fraud listed.
Under Georgia law, “any natural person who knowingly or willfully … makes or aids in the making of any false or fraudulent statement or representation of any material fact…” regarding insurance policies, is, if convicted, “guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than 10 years, or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.”
Count 1 alleges that around Nov. 21, 2017, the Colemans submitted a false certificate of insurance to Serafini Construction, which listed Moises Hernandez — doing business as Hernandez Construction — as the insured. The indictment goes on to state the certificate falsely showed Hernandez Construction was covered by a Berkshire Hathaway workers’ compensation insurance policy, and that Serafini Construction was the certificate holder. Sherry Coleman allegedly presented that certificate to Serafini, knowing it to be fictitious.
Count 2 alleges similar actions, committed around Dec. 4, 2017, with an allegedly similarly fictitious certificate presented to Frank Serafini Builders. It also allegedly showed Hernandez doing business as Moises Construction. It’s not immediately known whether Hernandez did business as these different entities, or whether there are mistakes in the indictment that need correction.
Count 3 again goes down the same path, also on Dec. 4, 2017, with Hatcher Homes listed as the certificate holder and Sherry Coleman presenting the alleged fictitious certificate to Hatcher. That pattern continues with Count 4, but this allegedly fictitious certificate — also presented to Hatcher on Dec. 4, 2017 — falsely showed Hernandez’s company was also covered by Occidental Insurance Company for commercial general liability.
Count 13 states the Colemans applied Feb. 9, 2018, for a new auto insurance policy through Progressive Insurance for Roosevelt Norris Jr., which the indictment alleges occurred without Norris’ permission.
The final insurance fraud count, Count 15, alleges that around Nov. 21, 2017, the Colemans presented a false certificate to Crosby Services that showed Myrick Construction had workers’ compensation coverage through a Liberty Mutual policy, which wasn’t true.
The other nine counts listed in the indictment are for violations of the reporting and disposition of premium requirement of the Georgia insurance code.
The allegation in Count 5 is that the Colemans failed to report to any insurer the premium for an insurance contract with Viola Cooper for a homeowner’s policy Feb. 2, 2016. Count 6 states the Colemans failed to promptly account for and return to Cooper the money for that premium.
Count 7 states this process began again June 8, 2017, with Hutchinson Stucco, in which the Colemans allegedly failed to report the premium to Scottsdale Insurance for general liability insurance. Count 8 follows in that the premium was not promptly refunded to Hutchinson.
Count 9 alleges the Colemans didn’t report the premium to United States Liability Insurance Company for a nonprofit management liability policy taken out July 27, 2018, by the Coastal Animal Rescue Society. Count 10 states the premium was not promptly returned.
The same thing allegedly occurred Aug. 9, 2017, with Waynesville Septic Tank, which entered into an agreement for a general liability policy through Diamond State Insurance, leading to Counts 11 and 12. Count 14 states the Colemans, around Oct. 10, 2016, failed to promptly return the premium due to Kelly Stanley Smith.
All of the alleged violations of the premium requirement involve money in excess of $500, which makes each a felony. According to the state code, violations of that law “shall constitute grounds or cause for action by the commissioner, including, but not limited to, probation, suspension or revocation of the license. Each and every act by a licensee shall also constitute grounds for fines and penalties, which amounts shall be set by rule or regulation of the commissioner.”