Former Maumee, Ohio, coin dealer Tom Noe pleaded innocent Oct. 31 in federal court to felony charges accusing him of laundering money into President Bush’s re-election campaign.
He was released on a $350,000 bond after relatives put up properties to cover it. Noe is now living in Florida.
Noe faces up to 15 years in prison and nearly $1 million in fines if convicted of exceeding federal campaign limits, using others to launder the contributions and causing Bush’s campaign to file a false campaign-finance statement.
No trial date has been set.
So far, Noe’s troubles have resulted in the discovery of up to $13 million missing from a $50 million coin fund he administered as an investment for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, the convictions of Ohio Gov. Bob Taft and his former chief of staff, Brian Hicks, on misdemeanor ethics violations for failing to report gifts from Noe and various other state and local investigations into Noe’s dealings.
The federal investigation focused on the $50,000 that Noe helped raise for the Bush-Cheney campaign at an Oct. 30, 2003, fund-raiser in Columbus.
Prosecutors allege that Noe laundered $45,400 into the campaign using 24 “conduits,” or people he provided money to, in order for them to attend the fund-raiser. The conduits were not named or charged. Several prominent Republican Ohio politicians testified in front of a federal grand jury during the Noe investigation in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
Information released so far by the U.S. Attorney’s Office does not address whether the money given to the conduits came directly from the coin fund.