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Former State Representative Peter Beck Sentenced to Four Years in Prison

Howard Wilkinson, WVXU
A Hamilton County Sheriff's Deputy stands behind Peter Beck before leading him to jail.

Former State Representative Peter Beck, once one of the most powerful legislators in Ohio, was led out of a Hamilton County Common Pleas Courtroom Thursday morning in handcuffs after being sentenced to four years in prison.

Judge John West, who presided over Beck’s 10-week trial and found him guilty on June 2, sentenced the 62-year-old former Mason mayor to the prison term and denied a defense request to allow him to remain free on bond while he appeals his conviction to the Ohio First District Court of Appeals.

The state of Ohio, represented by assistant Ohio attorney general Dan Kasaris, had asked the judge for a prison sentence of eight years on the charges of fraud, theft and securities violations.

Beck’s chief defense lawyer, Ralph Kohnen, asked the court to sentence Beck to community control, which would have meant he would have walked away free on probation.

“He’s truly, fundamentally a good man,’’ Kohnen told West at the sentencing hearing Thursday morning.

Beck, Kohnen said, is a non-violent offender and “it’s never going to happen again.” He referred repeatedly a large number of letters that had been written to the judge by Beck’s friends and family asking for leniency and attesting to his good character.

The former Mason mayor and legislator, an accountant, was convicted for his role in bilking investors out of millions of dollars in a computer software company called Christopher Technologies, or C-Tech.

One of the investors, Tina Walter, told the judge that she and her husband Tom, were “ruined financially” by investing through Beck and said they are now awash in debt.

The Walters and a number of other C-Tech investors have filed civil suits against Beck and other principles of the start-up in hopes of getting at least some of their money back.

West asked Beck if he wanted to address the court on the issue of his sentence. Beck declined.

“No, sir,’’ said Beck. “I think my attorney summed it up very nicely.”

Kasaris, during his argument for a longer sentence, said Beck had never “shown the slightest remorse.”

“The three words you never heard from Mr. Beck are the most important,’’ Kasaris said. “'I am sorry.’ You never heard that.”

Beck had waived his right to a jury trial, leaving West to decide the case. He found Beck guilty on 13 felony charges, including seven counts of perjury, three counts of theft and three securities violations. He was acquitted on an additional 25 counts.

Beck was originally indicted in 2013, but remained in the Ohio House and tried to run for re-election in 2014, losing badly in a three-candidate Republican primary. He ended up resigning from the House last December.