Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Veon, Aide Convicted of Misusing Grant Funds

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Veon, Aide Convicted of Misusing Grant Funds

Article excerpt

HARRISBURG -- Former high-ranking Democratic state Rep. Mike Veon and his ex-aide were found guilty Monday of charges related to the misuse of taxpayer grants directed to the Beaver County lawmaker's nonprofit organization.

The ex-lawmaker from Beaver Falls was facing his second corruption trial in less than two years. He previously was convicted in 2010 in the state attorney general's legislative probe.

In the latest proceeding, he was accused of improperly spending portions of the $10 million in taxpayer-funded grants that he secured for the Beaver Initiative for Growth.

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, and former aide Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink are scheduled to be sentenced April 18 by Dauphin County Judge Bruce Bratton.

The conviction could extend Mr. Veon's current sentence significantly if the judge decides to have the sentences served consecutively, rather than allowing them to be served concurrently.

Prosecutors will ask that the sentences be consecutive, said Nils Frederiksen, attorney general's office spokesman.

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.

Those guilty charges mostly centered around using Beaver Initiative for Growth funds to pay for Mr. Veon's legislative district offices in Midland and Beaver Falls, where the two operations shared space. Those funds also paid for an office on Pittsburgh's South Side that prosecutors said was used solely by a Democratic caucus employee.

Jurors found him not guilty on most of the charges related to the $133,000 retainer paid to former Veon aide Jeff Foreman and on another conflict-of-interest charge regarding allegations that he secured a six-figure salary for his brother, Mark, with a firm to which the nonprofit paid consulting fees. …

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