BIG's Phony Invoice
Bumsted, Brad, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Deep in the files of the Beaver Initiative for Growth (BIG), the nonprofit controlled by former House Democratic Whip Mike Veon, existed a phony invoice to back up a $5,000 check paid to an ex- legislator.
The check was issued to former Rep. Terry Van Horne, D-Lower Burrell, who testified in court that he never did any work for BIG.
BIG was a creation of Veon to expand economic development in Beaver County. He funneled $10 million in state tax money to the nonprofit over a decade. Veon, formerly of Beaver Falls, is charged with theft and conflict of interest for allegedly misusing the nonprofit. His former district office chief, Annamarie Perretta- Rosepink, also is charged.
Veon and Rosepink face trial in January on a separate set of charges for allegedly using tax money to fuel campaign efforts. Nine other former Democrat staffers are accused of politicking on the state's dime. Three have agreed to plead guilty; they're cooperating with prosecutors.
Van Horne testified that he never submitted the invoice to BIG.
In 2003, Van Horne said he had a deal with Veon to attend meetings for Southwestern Pennsylvania lawmakers and gather information on economic development. Van Horne thought he was working for the House Democratic Caucus. That's where he submitted one invoice after another. But he wasn't paid.
Van Horne was persistent. He finally was told to pick up a check at Veon's Harrisburg office. When he looked at it, he saw it was a check from BIG.
He cashed it, something in retrospect he wishes he had never done.
In May, Van Horne, an attorney, admitted it was a crime to cash the check. In more recent testimony, he hedged on that point.
In any case, an invoice apparently was dummied up after investigators from the Attorney General's Office began looking at BIG. …