- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) - A former state lawmaker from southwest Ohio was convicted Tuesday on 13 counts including theft, securities sales violations and perjury for misleading investors and using their money for personal gain.

Former state Rep. Pete Beck was acquitted in his bench trial of 25 of 38 counts, including one alleging he was part of a corrupt enterprise. Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge John Andrew West also acquitted him of counts alleging other securities fraud and violations, telecommunications fraud and other theft allegations.

“This court is not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Peter Beck knowingly conducted or participated in the affairs of any enterprise with a pattern of corrupt activity,” said West, who presided over the 10-week trial.

That charge carried a penalty of a decade or more in prison upon conviction. Beck still faces years in prison for felony convictions on three securities-related charges, three theft counts and seven perjury counts.

West scheduled sentencing for Aug. 20 and allowed Beck to remain free on bond. There was no immediate word from the defense on appeal plans.

His attorneys had called the accusations outlandish and an effort to make Beck a scapegoat.

The 62-year-old certified public accountant from Mason resigned from the Ohio House last November, shortly before his term was to end. In his resignation letter, Beck said he had some “personal matters” requiring his attention that would keep him from attending the final days of the legislative session.

He lost his bid for re-election to the House seat he had held since 2009 when he was defeated in the Republican primary in May 2014. He also is a former mayor of Mason, a suburb north of Cincinnati.

His trial was delayed numerous times to allow both sides more time to review the large amount of material gathered in preparation for the trial.

Beck was initially indicted in July 2013 on 16 felony counts, including theft and securities fraud. He was indicted in February 2014 on 53 new counts, including allegations of lying to securities investigators. The number of counts was later reduced to 38 after a revised indictment and judge’s rulings.

Prosecutors said Beck served as chief financial officer of the now-defunct Christopher Technologies. He was accused of being part of an enterprise that misled investors, laundered money and improperly diverted investors’ money.

Beck’s attorneys said investors were targeting him because other major players in the case are dead or bankrupt.

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Contact the reporter at https://www.twitter.com/dansewell

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