Authorities: Ohio Republican ripped off investors to fund campaign and friend’s church

By Travis Gettys
Thursday, February 13, 2014 13:55 EDT
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Peter Beck
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An Ohio Republican already facing more than 100 years in prison on 16 felony charges was slapped Thursday with 53 additional counts.

Rep. Peter Beck, of Mason, has already pleaded not guilty to the previous charges, but the new charges handed up by a grand jury cover a longer period of time.

The charges are related to a startup software company, Christopher Technologies, where the 63-year-old Beck served as the chief financial officer.

Also indicted on nine counts each in the case was Janet Combs, of Cincinnati, and the church where she served as pastor, Ark by the River Fellowship Ministries, and Beck performed accounting.

The grand jury indicted TML Consulting on eight counts.

House Speaker William Bathchelder initially said he would ask Beck, who serves as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to resign but later changed his mind, saying he was just making a suggestion.

The state’s Republican Party chairman, Matt Borges, also called for Beck’s resignation at the time.

Authorities said Beck and others cheated investors out of $1.2 million that was used to help fund the lawmaker’s political campaign and donated to the Ark by the River.

A lawsuit was filed in January 2013 against Beck and others in connection with the case, and the lawmaker was sued by his former partners in an accounting firm who said he deprived the business of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The most serious charge against Beck is the engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony.

He also faces three counts of aggravated theft, seven counts of theft, four counts of telecommunications fraud, and two counts of money laundering, among other charges.

Beck filed paperwork last month to run for re-election despite an April trial date, one month before the Republican primary election.

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