May 29, 2020

UPDATED: Former Mayor Brad Yates pleads guilty to Insurance Fraud

***** (EDITOR’S NOTE: After further clarification with the District Attorney, this article has been updated and reposted to include that the sentencing of Yates was done under the Georgia First Offender’s Act) *****

(Franklin, GA) — Former Franklin Mayor Brad Yates entered a guilty plea to 30 counts of Insurance Fraud and one count of Making a False Statement today at the newly remodeled Heard County Courthouse.

Superior Court Judge Dennis Blackmon accepted a negotiated plea agreement and immediately sentenced Yates to 20 years probation with standard conditions of probation, including additional conditions that he pay restitution to his victims totaling $24,621 and that he no longer work in the insurance industry.

According to the information provided in a press release issued by Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herb Cranford, Yates also surrendered his Alabama and Georgia insurance licenses as part of the negotiated plea.

“The District Attorney’s Office initially sought prison time for Yates’ crimes, but agreed to a probated sentence in exchange for Yates victims receiving $20,000 in restitution on the date of the guilty plea,” said Cranford in the statement.

“In short, the State prioritized making these victims whole as soon as possible over sending the Defendant to prison. The remaining $4,621 in restitution will be paid monthly during probation. All of the victims were consulted by the District Attorney’s Office prior to reaching this plea agreement and all of the victims were in agreement with this resolution.”

The charges against the former Mayor and local businessman stemmed from his production of fraudulent Certificates of Insurance for Worker’s Compensation which Cranford said the victims relied upon to believe they were covered by insurance.

Michael Brad Yates

Yates received $11,121 in payments from the victims to cover these policies, but he kept the money for himself.

As a result, some of the victims incurred additional costs, which caused the total restitution amount to reach over $24,000.

Cranford says the State is satisfied with the outcome of the case for all parties involved.

“The District Attorney’s Office is pleased to resolve the case to the satisfaction of the victims by making them nearly whole immediately, instead of receiving small monthly restitution payments over several years. It is appropriate that Yates never practice insurance again as he has violated the trust that such a job requires,” added Cranford in the statement.

Yates was sentenced under Georgia’s First Offender act, meaning that upon a verdict or plea of guilty or nolo contendere, but before an adjudication of guilt, the court may, in the case of a defendant who has not been previously convicted of a felony, without entering a judgment of guilt and with the consent of the defendant, defer further proceeding and place the defendant on probation as a first offender.

If the terms of the first offender sentence are successfully completed, and the probationer discharged, the arrest record is sealed.

The GCIC (Georgia Crime Information Center) must receive official notification that the subject has successfully completed the FOA requirements. The record is not automatically sealed based on the elapse of the probation sentence.

Georgia law requires GCIC to change the first offender sentence to a conviction if, prior to successful discharge, the subject is arrested and convicted of another offense while still on first offender probation.

Courts may also revoke a first offender sentence, indicate unsatisfactory completion of the first offender sentence or change to an adjudication of guilt.

Yates was arrested on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. The initial investigation was conducted by the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s Enforcement Division.

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