TOLEDO -- Two weeks after the conviction of Tom Noe, another participant in Ohio's Coingate scandal has pleaded guilty. Tom Noe's former business partner and friend, Timothy LaPointe, pleaded guilty to three counts of tampering with records. He originally pleaded not guilty to seven counts, but four of those were dropped.
LaPointe was a partner and co-owner of Noe's business, and on the stand in Noe's trial, he said he and Noe faked records to throw off state inspectors. Based on that testimony and other evidence, Noe was convicted two weeks ago of theft, corrupt activity, money laundering, forgery and tampering with records. Judge Thomas Osowik sentenced him to at least 18 years in state prison.
LaPointe faces up to 15 years in prison. He'll be sentenced on January 8th.
The scandal surrounding the $50 million investment that Noe managed for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation dogged the state GOP for more than a year, culminating this month with Democrats winning a U.S. Senate seat and four of five statewide offices after 12 years of Republican rule.
LaPointe was the last in a long line of witnesses called by the prosecution. Noe's defense team did not call any witnesses.
LaPointe also testified Noe borrowed some of the state's money to pay off business loans and to prop up his coin business, Vintage Coins and Collectibles. During the trial, Noe's attorneys attempted to shift some of the blame to LaPointe.