February 13, 2006
A coin dealer and prominent GOP fundraiser was charged Monday with stealing at least $1 million from a controversial state investment in rare coins that has embroiled Republicans in scandal during an election year.
The 53 charges against Tom Noe conclude a 10-month investigation by state and federal prosecutors into the $50 million rare coin investment 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.
Noe is accused of stealing from the investment by writing checks, sometimes for hundreds of thousands of dollars each, knowing the money was not his to use.
His attorney has acknowledged a shortfall of up to $13 million of the money Noe invested for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
… Noe, 51, already faced charges of using colleagues and associates to illegally funnel $45,000 to President Bush’s re-election campaign. The new counts include forgery, theft, money laundering and tampering with records.
Noe, remember, was Bush’s northwest Ohio campaign chairman in the 2004 presidential race, earning the status of Bush “pioneer” because of the contributions he raised for the president.
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