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Noe created records for fake transactions, coin collector testifies

Published: Fri, October 27, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.

TOLEDO (AP) -- A coin dealer charged with stealing from a 50 million state investment created fake records for coin deals that never happened, a coin collector testified Thursday.
Arthur Grillo testified that he sold coins to Tom Noe in the past, but several invoices showing sales and purchases didn't take place involving the coin fund Noe managed for the state.
"That is a false transaction," Grillo said when asked about a 55,771 transaction from 2005.
Noe, 52, a former Republican fundraiser, is on trial in Lucas County on charges of theft, money laundering, forgery and corrupt activity. He has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors say Noe loaned the state's money to friends and spent it on himself and his coin business.
The investment scandal has become an embarrassment for the state's GOP and could help Democrats win the governor's office next month for the first time since 1990. The trial is expected to last through the Nov. 7 election.
Grillo testified that most of his dealings with Noe's business were through Tim LaPointe, one of Noe's former business partners.
LaPointe has pleaded not guilty to charges of engaging in corrupt activity and tampering with records. He has agreed to testify against Noe.
Ohio's Bureau of Workers' Compensation gave Noe 25 million to invest in rare coins in 1998, followed by another 25 million in 2001. Democrats charge that he got the money because of his political connections.
Investigations into the coin investments have led to separate ethics charges against Gov. Bob Taft, who pleaded no contest last year to failing to report golf outings and other gifts.

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