In an effort to continue reducing the state's prison population amid the coronavirus (COVID-19), Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has commuted the sentences of seven inmates, including Tom Noe, who was a key figure in a Bureau of Worker’s Compensation skimming scandal known as "Coingate."
In 2006, Noe was found guilty of theft, money laundering, forgery and corrupt activity, and engaging in a pattern of corruption as he managed Ohio's $50 million rare-coin fund investment with the bureau. Noe is alleged to have skimmed more an estimated $13.7 million from the fund.
As a result, Noe was given an 18-year sentence to be served after the 27-month sentence he was issued for a 2005 conviction on illegal campaign contributions to President George W. Bush's re-election campaign. Noe had served as the chairman of the 2004 Bush-Cheney election campaign in Northwest Ohio.
According to WTOL, the parole board had previously decided to not grant Noe parole several times. But as a 65-year-old who had committed a non-violent crime and who possessed a perfect prison record, DeWine said that Noe fell into the category of prisoners that he would consider for early release.
As of Friday, Ohio has had 9,107 positive coronavirus cases, including 2,424 hospitalizations, 740 ICU admissions and 418 deaths. Dating back to the discovery of Ohio's first positive coronavirus case on March 9, DeWine has put a number of measures in place to encourage physical distancing, including a stay-at-home order since March 23. On Thursday, DeWine announced the state would begin reopening its economy on May 1, with details on how the state will approach that process still to come.