Veon guilty on 10 counts

March 5, 2012 4:05 pm

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HARRISBURG -- A Dauphin County jury found former Democratic state Rep. Mike Veon and his ex-aide guilty this morning of charges related to the misuse of taxpayer grants directed to the lawmaker's Beaver County nonprofit.

The jurors' decision came in the trial's 11th day, after nine days' of testimony and several days of deliberations. It was announced to a packed courtroom, which included Mr. Veon's wife, Stefanie.

Mr. Veon, 55, is scheduled to be sentenced by Dauphin County Judge Bruce Bratton on April 18.

The ex-lawmaker from Beaver Falls was facing his second corruption trial in less than two years. He was accused of improperly spending portions of the $10 million in taxpayer-funded grants that he secured for the Beaver Initiative for Growth, his nonprofit.

State prosecutors outlined how those funds were used to pay for a lucrative legal retainer for a longtime Veon staffer and to pay for additional office spaces that were used by Democratic caucus employees. They also alleged that Mr. Veon secured a high-paying position for his brother with a firm that the nonprofit paid more than a $1 million in consulting fees.

Defense attorneys countered that there was no evidence presented proving that the grant dollars were mispent.

Mr. Veon, who served 22 years in the state House of Representatives before his electoral defeat in 2006, was convicted on 10 of the 15 counts of theft, conflict of interest and conspiracy. Jurors found him not guilty on the charges related to the retainer paid to former aide Jeff Foreman, but agreed with the prosecution's arguments that the office rents paid by BIG were improper.

His former aide, Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink, was found guilty of all six of the theft-related counts she faced.

Harrisburg Bureau Chief Laura Olson: lolson@post-gazette.com or 717-787-4254.
First Published 2012-03-05 09:43:47

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