Former top lawmaker Eric Stewart indicted for insurance fraud
Eric Stewart challenged Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais in last year's election.
WINCHESTER, Tenn. -
A former top Democratic state senator who ran for Congress against Republican Scott DesJarlais last year has been indicted on charges of theft and insurance fraud.
Eric Stewart left the legislature to run for the 4th District Congressional seat in 2012, but was easily defeated by incumbent DesJarlais.
The two-count indictment by the Franklin County Grand Jury Monday in Winchester stems from an insurance dispute with a local contractor.
The area's district attorney general, Mike Taylor, told News 2 that the former lawmaker sold a worker's comp policy to contractor Don Plattenburg and his wife Bonnie, but allegedly used the $750 premium for his personal use rather than for the policy.
Taylor added that Stewart had been under investigation on the accusations since 2009 when he had an insurance agency.
The indictment says Stewart "concealed" the "criminal act until July 2012."
Stewart turned himself in Tuesday night at the Franklin County jail and posted $5,000 bond.
The former lawmaker who was once part of Democratic Party leadership in the state senate told News 2 he "could not comment" on the indictment.
Since running for Congress, Stewart has been involved in non-profit fundraising in the Franklin County area.
His arraignment is scheduled for November 15 at the Franklin County Justice Center.
The couple named as victims in the indictment and Stewart's attorney have not returned phone messages for comment.