State Rep. Peter Beck faces a 16-count felony indictment stemming from allegations that he helped bilk investors of $200,000 in his private business dealings.
A just-released Hamilton County grand jury report says Beck, who also has served as mayor of Mason, is charged with misrepresentations in the sale of a security, unlicensed sale of securities, fraud in sale of securities and sale of unregistered securities, and theft.
Beck faces 102 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
A Warren County man also was indicted on seven similar charges.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine are discussing the charges at a press conference now.
Beck’s attorney, Konrad Kircher, said Thursday that Beck, a state legislator who serves as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is ready to mount a “vigorous defense,” and is being blamed for the wrongdoing of others, namely Tom Lysaght, who died in 2010, and John Fussner, who is now bankrupt.
Fussner was indicted on seven charges.
Authorities said they are expecting Beck and Fussner to turn themselves in. They’ve been summoned to court on the indictment.
Fourteen investors in Christopher Technologies, a startup software company headed by Fussner, sued Beck in January, accusing him, the Milford accounting firm of Donohoo, Cupp, Beck & Associates, Ark by the River Fellowship Ministry in Linwood and others of cheating them out of more than $1.2 million in investments and spending the money instead on personal and other items.
Most of the money was to be invested in TML Consulting, a company run by Lysaght, who died in 2010. His widow, Janet Combs, is pastor at Ark by the River Fellowship Ministry, where some of the investors’ money was alleged to have gone. The lawsuit accuses Combs of writing checks for $133,000 from TML’s account to the church on Eastern Avenue.
Numerous calls to Beck, Combs and church officials were not returned.
Beck served as chief financial officer for Christopher Technologies and worked as a financial consultant for Christopher Technologies and handled financial statements and tax returns for Combs’ church. He also sold ownership interest in Christopher Technologies and solicited loans for the company, the lawsuit alleges.
It contends that Beck’s financial reports on both companies misrepresented to prospective investors that they were in good shape, leading them to spend their money.
According to the lawsuit, at least $15,000 of the money went to help Beck win election in 2010.
DeWine said the investigation continues and more indictments could be handed down. He would not discuss why Beck was not charged involving the alleged contribution to Beck’s campaign fund.
Beck represents the Ohio 54th District since 2009. The district covers parts of Warren and Butler counties.
He served as a member of Mason City Council from 1997 to 2005 and was mayor from 2003 to to 2005. He sat out a term because of term limits and returned to city council in 2007.
Beck was appointed to the Ohio House in 2009 to replace Shannon Jones who moved to the senate.
Beck’s biography on the Ohio House website says he is currently the chief operating officer with Home Building & Loan Company in Greenfield, Ohio.
The Enquirer will update this story.