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Pete Beck Trial: Doctor lost $2.5M to fraudulent companies

CINCINNATI (Rich Jaffe) --The white collar crime case against former State Representative Pete Beck on Friday centered around the man who lost the most money. Beck is facing a 39 count felony indictment in a massive securities fraud case.For two days we've heard from Dr. Charles Mbanefo.He lost more than $2.5 million to the bogus companies at the center of this case.One of the big issues for prosecutors is that beck allegedly used his influence and position as a State Representative and CPA to get people to invest. Beck's alleged influence peddling was one of the significant issues in today's testimony.Dr. Mbanefo testified that over a period of about five years he invested in four different companies, all at the suggestion and urging of Beck's business partner Tom Lysaght.Beck was the CFO for Christopher Technologies when Mbanefo invested $850,000.Mbanefo said he never would have done it if he'd known the company was insolvent.Beck was also the accountant for Lysaght, his wife Janet Combs and her church "Ark by the River."Combined, those three improperly received more than $900,000 from investors.The doctor said he only met Pete Beck a couple of times, but told Senior Assistant Attorney General Jessie Kramig, one event in Cleveland was unusual."Mr. Beck arranged and presented an award from the State of Ohio to you," asked Kramig."Yes," answered Dr. Mbanefo."You had never met him before," Kramig asked again."Right," confirmed Dr. Mbanefo."What was the award for?" Kramig asked."I was not sure actually, being a good guy I guess," said Dr. Mbanefo.Beck's actual hands on dealings with Dr. Mbanefo were minimal, but the State contends that as the Chief Financial Officer for Christopher Technologies, as Lysaght's accountant and an experienced CPA with a specialty in anti-money laundering issues, Pete Beck, better than anyone, was in a position to know what was going on inside those companies was illegal.Monday we'll start hearing testimony from what's called the "three amigos."Three investment advisors for Wells Fargo, all of whom lost considerable money in the same companies.The trial will begin its sixth week Monday. It's expected to last at least seven.Follow Rich Jaffe on Twitter @rajaffe, and LIKE him on Facebook.Follow us on Twitter @Local12 and LIKE us on Facebook for updates!

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