CINCINNATI, Ohio (WTVN) -- A southwest Ohio lawmaker has been indicted on more than a dozen charges related to securities fraud. It's prompted several calls, including from some in his own party, for him to resign.
Rep. Peter Beck (R-Mason) faces 16 felony charges accusing him of misleading investors about a company's financial status and misusing their money for personal benefit. His attorney says the accusations are outlandish and shameful.
The charges against Beck include fraud, theft and other charges. Beck chairs the House Ways and Means committee and helped write the House version of the state budget.
Investors sued Beck in January and accused him and others of misleading them about the financial status of two companies and misusing $1.2 million.
"This is an ongoing investigation. The investigation is not complete and there is the possibility of additional charges in the future," Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said.
Beck has denied the allegations. His attorneys say he's being used as a scapegoat because the two main players responsible for the investors' losses are either dead or bankrupt.
His lawyers also say that many of the people accusing Beck of swindling them are themselves "sophisticated investors."
Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder has called on Beck to step down from his seat.
“It is of the utmost importance that members of this sacred institution protect the public’s trust and be a voice for their district. While there is always a presumption of innocence until proven otherwise, it is my belief that these very serious allegations could cause a distraction to the good work of the Ohio House of Representatives," Batchelder said in a statement released Friday evening.
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges agreed with Batchelder and said Beck needs to resign.
"It's very disappointing to me personally that Rep. Beck didn't come forward to us with whatever his side of the story may be," said Borges who claims he found out about the case Thursday afternoon.
Gov. John Kasich apparently isn't going to weigh in on the issue.
"The governor didn't wade into the political fray in the recent cases of two Democrat legislators or two Republican legislators nor is he going to now,” said spokesman Rob Nichols. “ These matters are for legislative caucuses to address."
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)