From Cleveland Plain Dealer:
A politically connected coin dealer accused of stealing from a $50 million state investment in rare coins began taking the money for personal uses as soon as he got it in 1998, a prosecutor told a jury Monday.
Tom Noe, 52, used the money to pay off business debts and to support a lifestyle he thought he deserved while trying to fend off customers who claimed that he ripped them off on coin transactions, Lucas County Assistant Prosecutor John Weglian said in his opening statement at Noe’s trial.
In a different case, Noe pleaded guilty earlier this year to funneling $45,000 to Bush’s re-election campaign and was sentenced last month to two years and three months in federal prison. He won’t begin that sentence until after the state charges are resolved.
“He needed money. He needed it desperately,” Weglian said.
Noe, once a go-to guy for the Republican Party, has pleaded not guilty to theft, money laundering, forgery and corrupt activity charges. He is accused of stealing more than $2 million and spending it on his business and renovating his home in the Florida Keys. He faces up to 10 years in prison on the corrupt activity charge.
The scandal has become a central political issue in Ohio over the last 18 months and has contributed to trouble for Republicans who have dominated the state since 1990. more