Appeals Court Reduces Peter Beck's 2015 Conviction

Dec 14, 2016

A state appeals court has thrown out 10 of the 13 felony charges former state representative Peter Beck was convicted on last year.

Beck has been in prison since August 2015 and the appeals court action is likely to end up reducing his four-year sentence – possibly to time served.

Beck's appeal lawyer, Pierre Bergeron, told WVXU he hopes to file in Hamilton County Common Pleas "as quickly as possible."

"The next step is to get him out of jail as soon as possible,'' Bergeron said. 

A three-judge panel of the First District Court of Appeals rejected Beck's conviction on seven counts of perjury and three counts of securities violations.

They left in place convictions on three counts of theft and sent the case back to the trial court to have the other 10 counts vacated.

"There are only three counts left; and I think it is over at this point,'' Bergeron said. "The only thing that should happen is that Peter Beck be released."

Bergeron said he has talked with Beck by phone during the appeals process, but said he doesn't know where his client is being imprisoned. 

The former Mason mayor and state representative was convicted of bilking investors out of millions of dollars in a computer software company called Christopher Technologies.

Beck waived his right to a jury trial. Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge John West heard 10 weeks of testimony before finding Beck guilty on 13 criminal counts. Beck was acquitted on an additional 25 counts.

At his August sentencing, West imposed a sentence of four years. The prosecutors from the Ohio Attorney General's office had asked for eight years. West ordered Beck to be jailed while the case was on appeal. West is now retired; and his place on the common pleas bench has been taken by Judge Tom Heekin. Heekin is likely to inherit the Beck case.

Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General's office, which prosecuted the case, said the state's lawyers are "reviewing the opinion before determining whether or not to proceed with the case."

The Ohio Attorney General could appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.