Coin dealer, GOP fundraiser convicted in Ohio investment scandal ending attempt for new trial

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TOLEDO, Ohio — A former Republican fundraiser who invested state money in rare coins and collectibles before being convicted in an investment scandal more than seven years ago is giving up on getting a new trial.

The move seemingly brings an end to the long-running scandal that reached into the highest levels of state government and led to the convictions of former Gov. Bob Taft, his chief of staff and 17 others.

Tom Noe, a former coin dealer from the Toledo area, was at the center of the scandal that contributed to Democrats winning four of five statewide elective offices in 2006.

He was convicted of stealing from a $50 million rare-coin fund he oversaw for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation. He's now serving an 18-year prison term.

Prosecutors said Noe used state money to pay off business loans and to fund a lavish lifestyle, including the renovation of his Florida Keys home. Noe was allotted $50 million to invest for the state injured worker insurance fund, which he put into such questionable items as rare coins, Beanie Babies toys and other collectibles.

A federal judge last fall ruled against Noe's bid for a new trial, saying he didn't prove his arguments that he was denied a fair trial because of pre-trial publicity.

Richard Kerger, Noe's attorney, withdrew his notice to appeal that ruling Wednesday. He told The Blade (http://bit.ly/1460bzw ) that they both agreed to end his appeal. "I regret having to give up, but sometimes you just have to," Kerger said.

Kevin Pituch, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor who handled the case in 2006, said he was satisfied it's over.

"Tom Noe had a fair trial and was found guilty by a jury of his peers," he said. "The judge at sentencing commented that his guilt was overwhelming, and every court that has looked at it since has found the same thing."

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