Man arrested after submitting bid for Sorrento police insurance

A Prairieville man still on probation for a 2011 Medicaid fraud conviction is accused of making an illegal bid in the fall to provide the Sorrento Police Department with liability insurance.

Henry L. Beard, 41, has lacked a license to sell insurance since he was arrested in 2009 on 15 counts of Medicaid fraud and other charges, according to a Louisiana State Police affidavit of probable cause and other court records.

State Police booked Beard on Feb. 28 into the East Baton Rouge Parish prison on a count of trying to offer or sell insurance without a license. He was released on bond the same day, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Beard’s arrest stemmed from his bid to provide insurance to the Sorrento police and from an insurance sale he made in December 2012 to an unidentified man trying to open a used car dealership, according to the State Police affidavit of probable cause signed Feb. 18.

The State Police Insurance Fraud/Auto Theft Unit had been investigating Beard since October, after receiving a complaint from the state Department of Insurance.

“This investigation has shown that on at least two occasions, Beard represented himself to be an insurance agent by soliciting insurance and discussing quotes,” the probable cause affidavit says. “Beard’s insurance agent license had been revoked in 2009 following an arrest, therefore he was not allowed to engage in discussing insurance quotes or policies with potential customers.”

Under an agreement with prosecutors with the state Attorney General’s Office, Beard pleaded guilty in 19th Judicial District in January 2011 to one felony count of Medicaid fraud and one count of filing or maintaining false public records.

When he was arrested and charged by prosecutors in 2009, he had faced 15 counts of Medicaid fraud, one count of theft and one of count filing a false public record, the court docket sheet shows.

After his plea in 2011, Beard was placed on two years of supervised probation and ordered to pay $56,194 to the state Department of Health and Hospitals and $5,000 to the state Department of Justice Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

But, in June, District Judge Trudy M. White continued his probation until 2016 to give him more time to make monthly restitution payments.

Beard said Wednesday that he was continuing to serve as the marketing director for Beard Insurance and Financials, a company owned by his wife, Tayisha Beard.

The company, which has offices in Baton Rouge and Bossier City, is licensed by the state to sell casualty, credit, property, life and accident and health insurance, said Judy Wright, information officer with the state Department of Insurance.

Beard referred questions about his recent arrest to his attorney, Tarvald Smith, who could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

In November, Beard Insurance and Financials was the first company to provide a quote to Sorrento, in the days before the town’s Police Department lost coverage with Risk Management Inc.

The town remains without insurance for its one-man Police Department; Ricky Smith continues as assistant police chief.

The town has been without a chief since the Feb. 7 resignation of Earl Theriot Jr., who faces a federal felony charge that he lied to an FBI agent about his alleged sexual assault of an intoxicated woman last year.

The town missed its Feb. 27 deadline to appoint an interim chief. That task — and issuing a call for a special election to fill the remainder of Theriot’s term — now falls to Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has not yet acted on the matter.