The State Board of Workers’ Compensation announced Glynn County Commissioner and local insurance agent Bob Coleman and his wife, Sherry Coleman, were charged Wednesday with 15 counts of felony violation of the Georgia Insurance Code.
According to the indictment, the Colemans face six counts of insurance fraud and nine counts of violating the Georgia Insurance Code’s reporting and disposition of premium requirement.
A press release from the workers’ compensation board states a grand jury handed down the indictments following a year-long investigation by the board’s enforcement division.
“The Colemans have been charged with defrauding customers who paid the pair for workers’ compensation insurance as well as other lines of insurance. The indictment handed down includes 10 separate victims. The case is still under active investigation and there is the possibility of additional victims and charges,” the release stated.
Workers’ compensation board Criminal Investigator Doug Williams did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday. He said in a prior email that no further details could be provided because the investigation was still ongoing.
Bob Coleman was re-elected to serve a third term in the At-large Post 2 seat on the Glynn County Commission in 2016.
In a statement, Glynn County Commission Chairman Mike Browning said the county will need to discuss any action it may need to take.
“At this time, we are working to make sure that the (Glynn County Commission) is aware of the situation. This is a matter for the (commissioners) and our county attorney to address and discuss next steps,” Browning said.
County spokesman Matthew Kent said there may be no precedent for such a thing in the Golden Isles.
Coleman Insurance’s office phone now redirects to Family First Insurance, owned by Jeffrey Guest. In an interview on Wednesday, Guest said he was unaware of the investigation into the Colemans dealings when he purchased Coleman Insurance Agency on Aug. 1, 2018.
“Neither Family First Insurance or Jeff Guest were involved in the investigation or any of the (alleged) wrongdoings. My capacity is to help take care of the clients,” Guest said. “... Because they did not disclose this to me, when I was made aware of this, I severed my relationship personally and professionally with them.”
He was made aware of the investigation on Oct. 29, well after signing the agreement to purchase Coleman Insurance Agency, he said. Knowing what he knows now, he believes the Colemans were aware of the investigation when they sold him the business.
“From all indication, they were aware of this (ongoing investigation) yet did not disclose this to me ... Because it was not disclosed to me, I am in the middle of this mess,” Guest said.
As the current owner of Coleman Insurance, Guest said he will assist any of the Colemans’ clients.
“The existing clientele who are not victims, I’m here to provide them with service. Feel free to contact me, come to my office, whatever. I’m here to service those who are not victims,” Guest said. “I don’t want them to be panicking.”
Family First can be reached by calling Coleman Insurance Agency at 912-265-5305.
Guest said he was told to direct anyone who believes they are a victim to contact the State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s Enforcement Division at 404-657-7285 or 800-533-0682.
Any business owners who purchased workers’ compensation insurance or general contractors who have received a certificate of insurance for workers’ compensation coverage from Coleman Insurance Agency are asked to contact the board as well.
The Colemans could not be reached for comment Wednesday.