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DeWine to release 'Coingate' ringleader because of virus

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Posted at 5:36 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 17:36:50-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A former Republican fundraiser in Ohio convicted in an investment scandal that ensnared a sitting governor is being released under commutations announced Friday by Gov. Mike DeWine because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Toledo-area coin dealer Tom Noe was serving an 18-year sentence for stealing from a $50 million rare-coin fund he oversaw. Noe, 65, was due to be released in 2026.

The investigation into what was dubbed “Coingate” led to 19 convictions that reached up to then-Ohio Gov. Bob Taft and his chief of staff. The scandal also helped Democrats win four of five statewide elective offices in 2006.

Prosecutors have said he used state money to pay off business loans and fund a lavish lifestyle, including the renovation of his Florida Keys home.

Noe served a significant portion of his sentence already, has a clean prison record, will be closely supervised, and is better situated to pay restitution if he’s not in prison, DeWine said.

The governor also commuted the sentence of Alexis Martin, 22, of Akron, convicted of murder as a 15-year-old girl. Her forced prostitution as a teenager was cited as a factor leading to her involvement in the fatal shooting of her pimp during a robbery.