A new book examines the case against coin dealer Tom Noe, sentenced to 18 years on charges related to an investment for an Ohio state insurance fund made in rare-coin funds he
managed. Here's an excerpt from a December 24, 2017 article from the Toledo Blade. -Editor
Garrison Walters agrees that Tom Noe committed crimes.
But in his new self-published book, Coingate: When Law and Fairness Collide, the former interim chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents suggests Noe should never have faced theft charges or been
given an 18-year sentence that still has him behind bars.
He argues that errors on the part of the Lucas County prosecutor and judge, overzealous reporting by The Blade, a missing-in-action Ohio Supreme Court, and a tense political climate converged to
make Noe “a political prisoner.”
“It’s entirely clear that a ‘nonpolitical Noe,’ someone of no prominence and of no interest to the local media and therefore to politicians, would have been treated very differently in the justice
system,” Mr. Walters wrote.
There’s plenty of blame to go around, according to the author, who worked with the former Toledo-area coin dealer and Lucas County Republican Party chairman at the board of regents.
“The reader should walk away with an understanding that the justice system has an enormous amount of discretion built into the early stages and can be seriously warped by political considerations,
even if unconsciously,” Mr. Walters said in an interview. “I do believe that they all acted honorably, but they should never have been put in the situation they were in.”
On Nov. 13, 2006, Noe was convicted of 29 charges, 25 of which were felonies, including a racketeering charge carrying a mandatory 10-year sentence. He was convicted on four misdemeanors related
to the theft from a $50 million investment for the state’s insurance fund for injured workers made in rare-coin funds he managed.
Noe was convicted of taking money from the fund for his personal use, leaving behind records that sometimes masked the moves as transactions of fund assets.
Prior to starting his state sentence, he served two years in federal prison for using local conduits to launder illegal campaign contributions to the 2004 re-election campaign of President George
The 264-page book reads as part opinion piece and part academic thesis, looking at a justice system gone wrong with Noe as its case study. But Mr. Walters argues in his book that, while certainly
guilty of tampering with records and possibly forgery and tax fraud, Noe could not be guilty of theft. The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation had purchased shares in what were essentially hedge funds
and did not directly own the coins in those funds, he said.
Noe’s contract allowed his private coin-dealing business to do trades and sell coins with the investment funds and to take loans and advances against profits. The problem, he suggests, came when
the state prematurely shut down the funds, exposing Noe IOUs where assets should have been. Mr. Walters said he has no reason to believe Noe lacked the financial wherewithal to make good on those
The book also contends the judge and prosecutor left the jury with the impression that the investments lost money when they made a profit of about $6 million. In hindsight, he agrees the BWC could
make the argument it was entitled to that profit plus the value of the IOUs Noe left behind, but he said that wasn’t the argument the prosecution made.
The book contends Noe was caught between a Democratic Party eager to score political points and a scared Republican Party eager to distance itself from him.
“This was a situation in which unconscious bias combined with political expediency to create a situation that simply shouldn’t have occurred,” Mr. Walters said. “I don’t know that, if it were a
nonpolitical Noe, there would have been a search warrant and a raid [of Noe’s business office].”
Noe’s convictions and sentence have been upheld at every state and federal appeals level. He has served about half of his 18-year sentence and was recently transferred from the Hocking
Correctional Institution in southern Ohio to the Marion Correctional Institution. Both are medium-security facilities.
To read the complete article, see:
BOOKS Author argues Tom Noe ‘political prisoner’ in Coingate
To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NOE CHARGED WITH 53 NEW COUNTS IN OHIO COIN SCANDAL (http://coinbooks.org/esylum_v09n08a09.html)
MORE PRESS ON OHIO COIN FUND (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v08n21a07.html)
STILL MORE ON OHIO'S "COINGATE" (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v08n22a11.html)
DUPONT COINS INVOLVED IN OHIO SCANDAL? (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v08n23a03.html)
SPECTRUM NUMISMATICS WINS SECRET OHIO CLOSED-BID COIN AUCTION (http://cbt.coinbooks.org/esylum_v09n14a13.html)
NOE BEHIND NEW GOLD COINS; PUSHED FOR PALLADIUM (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v09n15a13.html)
TOM NOE'S HARD TIME (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v10n18a36.html)
COIN DEALER TOM NOE'S CONVICTION UPHELD (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v13n01a21.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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