Noe Florida Home For Sale

COLUMBUS, OH (AP) -- The wife of an indicted coin dealer at the center of a state investment scandal has put the couple's Florida home up for sale and wants to use the proceeds to finance his defense.

The oceanfront home in the Florida Keys, purchased in the name of Tom Noe's wife, Bernadette, for $1.85 million in 2003, was listed for sale recently for $5 million, records show.

Tom Noe is charged with stealing at least $1 million from a $50 million investment in rare coins he managed for the state insurance fund for injured workers. He has pleaded not guilty, and a trial is scheduled to begin in August.

Ohio Auditor Betty Montgomery said last month that the state is owed $13.5 million from the investment in rare coins that Noe allegedly funneled into his own businesses.

Attorney General Jim Petro wants the proceeds of any sale held because state money may have been used. A court agreement requires the couple to get permission before selling any asset of more than $5,000.

Charles Ticknor III, Bernadette Noe's attorney, said without the money, taxpayers would have to pay for her husband's lawyers.

"If the attorney general is so determined to get publicity that he wants to start beating up on an innocent wife and children, then I am anxious for the fight," he said.

The audit of the coin funds found more than $400,000 in state money used to pay builders and home-appliance vendors for homes in Florida and Ohio.

Ticknor estimated that about $150,000 of the payments in the audit were for the current or former homes in Florida. He said Noe's wife is willing to set aside that much as long as she can use the other sale proceeds.

Posted by jcook