At least six of the 21 criminal charges against local insurance agent and Glynn County Commissioner Bob Coleman can be proven factually inaccurate, according to Coleman’s defense attorney.
Both Bob Coleman and his wife, Sherry, were charged by a Glynn County grand jury in January with 15 counts of felony violation of the Georgia Insurance Code — five counts of insurance fraud and nine counts of violating the Georgia Insurance Code’s reporting and disposition of premium requirement.
Six additional charges against Bob Coleman came in June, two counts of insurance fraud and four of violating the Georgia Insurance Code’s reporting and disposition of premium requirement.
Both Colemans have denied all allegations against them.
Alan Tucker, with Tucker & Browning Law, said at a Monday motions hearing in the case that the Colemans kept documentation that disproves those six additional charges.
At the hearing, he and Brunswick Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Robert German cross-examined Doug Williams, a criminal investigator for the State Board of Workers’ Compensation
At issue was a recording of an interview Williams conducted with Bob Coleman in the food court of the Glynn Place Mall on Oct. 25, 2018.
Tucker held that it was immaterial and should not be accepted into the court record. German said it contained plenty of information relevant to the case.
German was interested in the content of the recording, which Williams said included a discussion of “how it (Coleman Insurance) operated and what its general practices and procedures were.”
Additionally, the recording contains some comments Bob Coleman made about “things Sherry (Coleman) may not have done correctly” and about paying some people back, he said.
Tucker, however, used the opportunity to establish that at the time of the meeting Williams could not have known about the allegations that would lead to the six later indictments, and as such the recording was not material and should be excluded from the court record.
Four of the indictments resulted from allegations by Robert Gary Jr., who accused the Colemans of taking three payments for homeowners insurance and pocketing the money.
The Colemans did take the money, but later returned it, according to Tucker, and they have the “paper trail” to prove it.
The other two charges were based on allegations made by William Daniel Wilson, who claimed Bob Coleman took a check for workers’ compensation insurance but did not procure said coverage and converted the money to his benefit.
According to Tucker, however, the check had not been written for workers’ comp but general liability insurance for Mack’s Bar-be-cue — a restaurant in Sterling. Tucker claimed that Wilson did get his insurance coverage but did not keep up with payments, resulting in its cancellation.
The Colemans had documentation to prove both sets of allegations false on a factual basis, he said. As such, the business practices employed by Coleman Insurance Agency were irrelevant to the six indictments.
German countered, saying the interview would be necessary to put the state’s case against the Colemans in context.
All comments made in the interview were made of Coleman’s own volition, “free and clear,” German said. He also referenced the first 15-count indictment, the allegations of which Williams would have known about at the time of the interview.
“To say the state is limited to only statements relating to new evidence is not consistent with state law,” German said.
Visiting Superior Court Judge David Cavender, who took the case after all five Glynn County Superior Court judges recused themselves, said he was leaning in the state’s favor but that he would not make a ruling right away.
A jury trial is scheduled for Nov. 18.