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Business partner pleads guilty in Beck fraud case
CINCINNATI (Rich Jaffe) -- While an embattled state representative has nothing to say, his indicted business partner is talking, a lot.
Warren County State Representative Peter Beck was in court today as attorneys attempted to set a date for his lengthy trial on securities fraud charges. One of the key witnesses against Beck will be his business partner John Fussner, who today accepted a plea deal in which he will testify against Beck and possibly an alleged cult leader named Janet Combs. Their indictments follow an exclusive Local 12 investigation.
Beck has to be really nervous as the case against him continues to mount. He's facing a 69 count indictment that could send him to prison for centuries if convicted on all counts.
The case revolves around Beck's involvement in a scam that lured investors into spending hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars on insolvent or bogus companies.
Peter Beck watched solemnly as his ex-business partner, John Fussner, pleaded guilty to a pair of securities fraud charges in exchange for what will be his testimony against Beck and others in the pending case.
Fussner was the president of a company called Christopher Technologies, for which Beck was the chief financial officer. They and others allegedly conspired to convince investors to infuse the company with money when they knew the company was on shaky financial ground.
Hundreds of thousands of those dollars were also allegedly funneled to an East End church, many people call a cult, Ark by the River. The leader of the church, Janet Combs, is also indicted for money laundering and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. Beck was her accountant for the church and he worked for her husband. Coming out of court we attempted to talk with Combs when her bodyguards once again intervened.
[Click here to watch the confrontation in the hallway of the courthouse]
Judge John Andrew West tentatively set November 17th as a trial date for this case, but it's so massive it's very possible that it won't go until sometime next year.
If convicted on the securities fraud charges, John Fussner is looking at potentially prison time and fines.