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21 Nov 2006

Rare Coin Dealer faces 18 years

The guilty party in the 2005 loss of up to $13 million in a rare-coin fund managed by Maumee coin dealer Thomas W. Noe, has played out with Noe receiving the maximum sentence for his involvement in the scandal.

Judge Thomas J. Osowik sentenced Noe to 18 years in prison for for stealing state money from the Ohio Bureau Compensation fund. The judge also has scheduled a hearing to determine what restitution Noe must pay. Prosecutors are seeking at least $13.7 million, the amount they say Noe stole from the coin funds. Osowik also fined Noe $139,000, plus the nearly $3 million cost of the investigation.

Noe began stealing and spending state money seven years ago in order to buy yachts, positions on state boards, a multimillion dollar house in the Florida Keys and other luxuries in order to present himself as having a "bottomless cup of wealth and luxury", while managing the $50 million rare-coin investment for the state.

Osowik also ordered that Noe begin serving the state sentence after he finishes a 27-month prison term on an unrelated federal conviction for illegally funneling $45,400 to President Bush’s reelection campaign. Ohio Democrats used the scandals Noe sparked to help reclaim the governor’s office and other statewide posts in the Nov. 7 election. "Tom Noe violated the public trust by using $50 million as his own ATM, living a lavish lifestyle at the expense of real people whose lives depended on agency monies."

The loss of up to $13 million in the rare-coin fund managed by the Maumee coin dealer was made public on the heels of the unrelated MDL Capital loss of $215 million from what was a $355 million investment. The hedge fund founded by Aliquippa entrepreneur Mark D. Lay, also lost $215 million last year in a case involving the activities of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation investment fund.

MDL Capital also manages $500 million for the Pennsylvania State Workers Insurance Fund, and $91 million of the nearly $27 billion portfolio of the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System. MDL Capital is one of 13 fixed-income portfolio managers. Since it started in December 2000, the annualized return on its portfolio has been 4.5 percent.

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