February 14, 2006
$1 Million Theft Charged in Ohio in Coin Scandal
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
TOLEDO, Ohio, Feb. 13 — A coin dealer and prominent Republican fund-raiser was charged Monday with stealing at least $1 million from a state investment in rare coins that has embroiled Republicans in scandal during an election year.
The 53 charges against the coin dealer, Tom Noe, conclude a 10-month investigation by state and federal prosecutors into the $50 million rare-coin investment Mr. Noe managed for the state insurance fund for injured workers.
The investigation led to sweeping changes at the state workers' compensation bureau, an agreement by Gov. Bob Taft and two former aides to plead no contest to ethics charges, and pending charges against two other former Taft aides.
Mr. Noe is accused of stealing from the investment by writing checks, sometimes for hundreds of thousands of dollars each, knowing that the money was not his to use.
His lawyer has acknowledged a shortfall of up to $13 million of the money Mr. Noe invested for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
One of the charges in Monday's indictment accuses Mr. Noe of stealing at least $1 million. The state attorney general has accused him of stealing up to $6 million.
Mr. Noe, 51, already faced charges of using colleagues and associates to funnel $45,000 illegally to President Bush's re-election campaign. The new counts include forgery, theft and money laundering.
Jon Richardson, a defense lawyer, entered pleas of not guilty on each count on behalf of Mr. Noe, who surrendered to the authorities on Monday and was released on $500,000 bail.