Tom Noe says he's no thief

Tom Noe

The central figure in an investment scandal that engulfed Ohio Republicans five years ago says he was a bad bookkeeper but not a thief.

In a prison interview with The Columbus Dispatch, Tom Noe says his state contract allowed him to take advances on the public money invested in his Toledo rare coin dealership.

Noe, former GOP fundraiser, was convicted of theft and other crimes in 2006 in a scandal at the Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation that helped Democrats win four of five statewide offices in 2006.

Prosecutors said Noe stole $13.7 million from an investment fund he managed on behalf of the bureau. He was given state money in 1998 and 2001 to invest in coins and other items.

Noe filed an appeal last week with the Ohio Supreme Court seeking to overturn his conviction.