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June 15, 2005

Coingate, Colorado

Ohio’s Coingate scandal—the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s $50 million investment in rare coins, Beanies and other collectibles, $12 million of it now gone without trace—is the grift that keeps on giving:

The suburban Denver home of a former employee of Tom Noe was burglarized over the weekend, with thieves making off with artwork, guns, jewelry, cars, and $300,000 in wine — possibly purchased with money from the state of Ohio.
Michael Storeim, a suspect in a Colorado criminal probe into Ohio’s missing coins, reported Monday night the valuables had been taken from his Evergreen, Colo., home while he was vacationing with his wife.
Investigators from the Jefferson County, Colo., Sheriff’s Office on June 3 took custody of 3,500 bottles of wine valued at $500,000, and seized hundreds of rare coins, 265 Cuban cigars, computers, and documents from Mr. Storeim’s home and office as part of a criminal investigation.
The wine was left in a locked cellar in the home, but police had changed the locks.

Storeim, it seems, is just plain unlucky. This isn’t the first time that property in his possession has been reported stolen:

In October, 2003, Mr. Storeim reported two rare gold coins valued at $300,000 missing from a mail package that was en route to Numismatic Professionals, the Evergreen, Colo., office of Mr. Noe’s coin fund.
Colleagues later alleged that Mr. Storeim might have been responsible for the disappearance of the $10 gold coin from 1845 and a $3 gold coin from 1855, police records show.
The Colorado coin dealer has also been accused by Mr. Noe of skimming profits and misappropriating additional coins.

Storeim, who hasn’t yet been charged, maintains he is innocent on all counts, and that any missing coins—around 120 in all—were “simply a matter of the company’s inventory control record.” Not everyone is convinced by his story:

State Sen. Marc Dann, a Democrat from suburban Youngstown, called the reported burglary “an amazing coincidence.”
“Clearly, this is more than a coincidence,” he said. “I hate to be cynical, but I think I’m a little bit suspicious. This whole thing gets weirder and weirder.”

It sure does. More here.

Posted by Stephen at 11:45 AM in Politics | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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