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No trial date yet in Pete Beck fraud case

A Hamilton County judge agreed to continue again the criminal case for an Ohio lawmaker who faces 16 charges alleging securities fraud and theft.

Rep. Pete Beck (R-Mason) and his co-defendant, John W. Fussner, both principles in the now-defunct Christopher Technologies, will be back before Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge John Andrew West on Dec. 18 to set a trial date.

Beck, 60, who has served in the Statehouse since 2009, is accused of cheating investors out of about $200,000 related to his role in the former technologies company that sold early warning software. Beck, a CPA, was the company’s chief financial officer. Fussner, who faces seven securities fraud and theft charges, was the firm’s president.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office said in July additional charges could come.

Beck was indicted in July on the charges, and leadership in the Statehouse and the Ohio Republican Party asked the long-time politician and Marine veteran to resign his House seat. He refused.

Thursday’s hearing was a continuation of a Sept. 19 hearing where the defense requested additional time to review the discovery of 60,000 pages worth of documents introduced by the prosecution.

Several attorneys representing both sides lined up before Judge West on Thursday morning in the Hamilton County courtroom. Both sides requested the continuance as there is now about 100,000 pages worth of documents to review.

Beck’s attorney Ralph Kohnen declined to comment after the brief hearing.

Beck serves the state’s 54th House District, which incorporates about half of Warren County and a western portion of Butler County in Middletown. Beck is up for re-election in 2014.

Mary Jo Kubicki, of Mason, is planning to challenge Beck for the seat in the May 2014 GOP primary.

If found guilty on all charges, Beck faces 102 years in prison. However, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office said it’s likely charges would be merged or concurrent sentences would be imposed if there are multiple convictions of the charges.

Once the criminal case is concluded, Beck will face a civil suit for his role in Christopher Technologies. Fussner, however, is not named in the lawsuit that was filed in Hamilton County court in January. Warren County attorney Konrad Kircher is representing Beck in the civil case.

Investors in Christopher Technologies claim in the civil suit that Beck and others bilked them out of $1.2 million.

West said the bond for Beck and Fussner will remain in place. The two are out on their own recognizance with an unsecured appearance bond, which means if they miss a court date they will have to pay $50,000.

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