Embattled state lawmaker Pete Beck has a co-defendant filing a civil lawsuit against him in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.
The Mason Republican is facing 54 criminal charges in a securities fraud scandal where a group of investors claim the certified public accountant used his financial acumen to lure them into a $2.1 million loss. A civil lawsuit was filed by investors in January 2013. Vernon “Chip” DeMois, who is a co-defendant in the 22-claim civil case, filed his own civil suit against Beck and his former accounting firm earlier this year.
He claims Thomas Lysaght, who is deceased and is referred to as the “rainmaker” in the investment scheme, and Beck convinced him to become president of Lysaght’s TML Consulting firm, which is at the center of the scandal. Then they used DeMois’ good name to lure other investors to back two companies — Christopher Technologies and Musaegis. The money apparently never went into the companies, rather it went into the schemers’ pockets, the lawsuit alleges.
DeMois claims as soon as he learned shady deals were afoot he immediately divorced himself from TML and everything connected to it. DeMois’ name is peppered throughout the initial lawsuit. He has not been criminally charged but he said the allegations in the civil suit have harmed him and he blames Beck.
“DeMois voluntarily disclosed all investigations and legal actions to every client and potential client,” the lawsuit reads. “Due to these investigations and related litigation, DeMois has been forced to decline tens of thousands of dollars worth of business opportunities. For example DeMois lost a six-figure opportunity in February 2014 following disclosure of these matters.”
He wants $150,000 he says he earned but never received from TML, damages for “lost business opportunities, emotional distress and attorney’s fees” and punitive damages.
One of Beck’s civil attorneys Konrad Kircher has always claimed Beck was also a victim and people are looking for a scapegoat who is perceived to have deep pockets.
“I’m not really impressed with the lawsuit, I think it was just filed kind of at the last minute for DeMois to kind of jump on the bandwagon,” he said. “I think its a revisionist history.”
Lisa Hackley, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Mike DeWine, who is handling the criminal case along with Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, said the second lawsuit will have no impact on the criminal case. Beck originally faced 69 counts including theft, fraud, perjury and engaging in corrupt activity.
DeMois is the second co-defendant to turn on Beck. John Fussner, former president of Christopher Technologies, was indicted with Beck in the first 16 counts approved by a grand jury last summer. He pleaded guilty to two counts of securities fraud in April. The attorneys agreed Fussner was not involved in eight of the counts in the indictment lodged against Beck and Fussner and six counts were dismissed. Fussner faces two to eight years in prison, but prosecutors are recommending probation because Fussner has agreed to testify against Beck.
DeMois’ attorney Steve Goodin said he could not comment.