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Noe indicted on 53 counts

Former Ohio coin dealer Tom Noe was charged Jan. 13 with 53 felonies alleging that he stole more than $1 million from the Ohio Bureau of Workers? Compensation and laundered more than $2 million from the coin funds he managed for the bureau.

The grand jury indictments include 22 counts of forgery, 11 counts of money laundering, eight counts of tampering with records, six counts of aggravated theft, five counts of grand theft and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Noe, 51, faces more than 172 years in prison if convicted. He pleaded innocent and was released from the Lucas County jail after he posted a $500,000 bond.

A conviction on the RICO count would require a mandatory 10-year prison term.

The indictment calls for the forfeit of Mr. Noe?s Vintage Coins and Collectibles business in the town of Monclova, Ohio, and the sale of his shares in Numismatic Guaranty Corp., if convicted.

Noe?s partner in Vintage Coins, Timothy LaPointe, was also indicted on one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity under the RICO law and six counts of tampering with records.

The indictment against LaPointe alleged that he ?assisted? Noe in getting coins that did not belong to the state?s coin funds or their subsidiaries, yet listing them as inventory of the coin funds.

The indictments allege the intent was to mislead auditors of about $1 million stolen from the coin funds.

The BWC is the Ohio state agency charged with paying medical bills and providing monthly checks to Ohio workers injured on the job. It invested a total of $50 million with Noe?s Capital Coin funds, beginning with $25 million in 1998.

After allegations surfaced last year, Noe resigned from posts at the U.S. Mint Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, the Ohio Board of Regents and the Ohio Turnpike Commission, and moved to Florida.

The fallout so far: Ohio halted its investment in the rare-coin funds controlled by Noe, there are four ongoing grand jury investigations, Gov. Bob Taft and two top aides were convicted of criminal ethics violations for failing to report gifts from Noe, and charges were filed last week against two former aides to Mr. Taft for failing to disclose loans that they received from Mr. Noe. It also resulted in the resignations of the bureau?s top administrator and other BWC officials.

According to court documents, on the day Mr. Noe received his first $25 million from the workers? compensation bureau, he approved a wire transfer of $1.4 million from the coin fund to his own accounts to pay off previous obligations. He used the first $25 million to invest in real estate and his associates? coin businesses. He brokered multimillion dollar coin deals that made the state little money, but allowed him to unload his own coins for hundreds of thousands to the state, according to records released last year by the state.

Mr. Noe?s campaign contributions to Republicans increased substantially in 1998 after he received the first $25 million payment from the state, and his contributions more than doubled again in 2002, the year after the bureau gave him his second installment of $25 million.

Noe had already been indicted in October 2005 in U.S. District Court in Toledo on three felony counts for allegedly laundering more than $40,000 to President Bush?s re-election campaign.

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