In January, Bob Coleman, age 69, a county commissioner for Glynn County, Georgia, was arrested together with his wife Sherry, age 59, after a yearlong investigation into their business practices. The couple together ran Coleman Insurance, and Bob Coleman was a respected member of the community. He was elected to the Glynn County Commission three times, and the couple has lived in the area for their whole lives.
Investigators from the State Board of Workers’ Compensation Enforcement Division alleges that the couple defrauded customers of Coleman Insurance over several years. According to the charges, they would sell workers’ compensation insurance packages to clients and keep the money for themselves while issuing fake certificates of coverage.
“My wife Sherry and I were born in Brunswick, Georgia,” said Coleman in a press release. “We have lived our entire lives in this community, where I have been a licensed insurance agent for over 45 years. During those 45 years, there has never been a hint of impropriety, much less an actual allegation.”
The original 15 felony counts included six counts of insurance fraud for events that took place from 2016 through 2018. According to a press release issued at the time, “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 ten separate victims.”
At the time, Doug Williams, an investigator at the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, declined to comment on the case except to say that the investigation had not been closed and that further victims may surface.
The new charges related to two new alleged victims: William Daniel Wilson and Robert Gary Jr. Two of the new charges are felony counts of insurance fraud. According to the indictment, Bob Coleman “did knowingly receive money for the purpose of purchasing [workers’ compensation] insurance and did convert said money to the accused’s own benefit.” The other four counts relate to Coleman’s failure to refund money for premiums paid by Wilson and Gary.
Unlike the earlier charges which were leveled at both Bob and Sherry Coleman, these latest charges relate only to Bob’s activities.
The day after the new charges were handed down, Bob Coleman released a press statement which protested his innocence. He denies all allegations and said he intended to continue to serve his term as county commissioner.
“My wife Sherry and I are innocent of the charges that have been made against us,” he wrote. “We intend to prove our innocence in the courts of Glynn County. Nothing is more important to us than our good name and reputation.”
Coleman said that in his time as an insurance agent, he had not been accused of any wrongdoing. “The presumption of innocence dates all the way back to the ancient Babylonian Code of Hammurabi,” he wrote, “and was bolstered by the Greek statesman Demosthenes who wrote about the importance of not calling people criminals before they were convicted.”
“I don’t know who’s out there to get me, but somebody is,” said Coleman when asked for comment. “That’s about all I can say.”
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