The lead investigator in the case against a failed tech company continued to testified Wednesday in the criminal trial of Pete Beck.
Harvey McCleskey, the deputy attorney investigator for the Ohio Division of Securities, was the lead investigator in the case against Christopher Technologies, a tech company where Beck was listed as chief financial officer. McCleskey was initially called to the stand on Tuesday, and will continue to testify Thursday.
Beck was indicted in July 2013 and February 2014 on dozens of charges stemming from his involvement with Christopher Technologies. He and others are accused of defrauding investors out of millions of dollars in an alleged investment scheme.
And while much of the prosecution’s questioning tried to demonstrate Beck’s attempt to allegedly acquire investors and sell security into the company, defense attorney Ralph Kohnen said those records are questionable, as is the man who made the allegations more than four years ago.
“Mr. (Tom) Walter said in his complaint letter that he needed you (McCleskey) to use your subpoena power to help him in his civil case against the (Tom) Lysaght estate,” said Ralph Kohnen, lead attorney on Beck’s defense team. “Mr. Walter, who has made it clear from the get-go that he wants your help, your cooperation, your power and authority, to assist him in a civil case against Tom Lysaght.”
McCleskey said while that did give him “pause,” he didn’t feel it necessary to question him in a securities division hearing.
McCleskey said neither he nor anyone in the division would ever share evidence gathered through the course of an investigation to someone outside the division, especially to file litigation such as a civil suit.
Much of the evidence used in the case against Beck was provided voluntarily by Beck, Kohnen said. But evidence was also used from one of two computers taken into custody during the investigation.
Evidence taken from Beck’s laptop computer owned by his former CPA firm was inspected by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. And though the computer used by former Christopher Technologies controller Charlene Parsons, who had intimate knowledge of the tech company’s daily finances, was acquired by the state, it was not used in the investigation.
McCleskey testified there “were no documents on Charlene Parson’s desktop (computer) associated with C-Tech.”
Kohnen said there are questions concerning Beck’s laptop, especially since the brother of one of the two principles in Beck’s former CPA firm was at the time the firm’s information technology director, and the firm had filed a lawsuit against Beck. Kohnen asked McCleskey if he noticed “anything funny about some” of the emails on Beck’s computer.
McCleskey said he wasn’t certain what Kohnen meant.
“On some of them … the sender is not listed. On some of them the recipient isn’t identified. Some of them the header is just nontraditional,” Kohnen said. “This could be things that kind of got messed up in BCI’s forensic exam, or they could be things that were changed in emails before the hard drive was shared by (the CPA firm).”
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