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Massive White Collar Case Building Against State Representative
HAMILTON (Rich Jaffe) -- More than half a dozen attorneys and prosecutors are setting up for what could be one of the most complicated white collar trials ever seen in Hamilton county.
The case involves Ohio State Representative Peter Beck (R- Mason), his business partner and hundreds of thousands of investment dollars they allegedly conned out of investors.
Their indictment by the Attorney General came after a 12 News investigation last November.
Local 12 News reporter Rich Jaffe was the one who broke the story nearly one year ago.
Jaffe said "Today's hearing was supposed to be a plea or trial setting. But that didn't happen and what it provided us was a look at how massive and complicated this trial will be once it gets going."
Beck sat in Judge John Andrew West's courtroom with a dour look on his face...and with good reason.
Beck and business partner John Fussner are each facing multiple counts of securities fraud and theft.
Following a Local 12 investigation last year Attorney General Mike Dewine and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters indicted the pair in July.
Thursday, seven attorneys from both sides told Judge West they weren't ready to pick a trial date.
Fussner attorney Josh Engle explaining, "The biggest issue we have your Honor at the moment is we've been provided a significant amount of discovery from the state..."
Those discovery documents at this point add up to more than 60,000 pages!
Engle is saying that so far they've seen no significant statements from any of the complainants.
Those complainants along with prosecutors allege that Fussner and his company Christopher Technologies, with help from Beck, misrepresented their value and lured investors into giving them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Much of the money went to fund a local church, which some ex-members have called a cult.
When Pete Beck left the courtroom today, he wasn't talking.
Going down the hallway Rich Jaffe said, "Mr Beck do you have any plans to step down from the ways and means committee? Mr Beck doesn't have any comment...thank you guys." (said one of his attorneys).
Jaffe said, "Mr beck any plans to step down from your seat at all?"
Farther down the hall He tried again, "Anything to say to your constituents?Anything to say to the investors?Anything to say to anybody?"
Fussner attorney Mike Allen explained, "It's a hugely complicated case Rich. You got 60,000 pages of discovery we're not even halfway through yet. The state has been very good in providing that discovery and we expect there will be more so whether we're going to be able to get through all that by the time we come back to court I'm not certain. Obviously we look at every single scrap of paper they give us and it's gonna take a while."
This is an on-going investigation and there could be other people indicted and other charges leveled at least at Peter Beck.
At this point he's been indicted on 16 felony counts which could bring more than a century of prison time.
John Fussner was indicted on 7 counts. If convicted those would be worth 43 years in prison.
Both sides agreed to come back into court October 31st to try and pick a trial date.
It's expected at this point that if the case goes to trial it would last 4 or five weeks and wouldn't get started until well into next year.