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Published: Friday, 12/15/2006

Report: Wife of former Voinovich treasurer got money from Noe


COLUMBUS, Ohio A business owned by a coin dealer convicted of stealing from a state investment gave money to a company run by the wife of U.S. Sen. George Voinovich s former campaign treasurer, a newspaper reported today.

The payments, made by Tom Noe s Vintage Coins & Collectibles to Laura Panichi s DLII Inc., are part of an ongoing investigation, The Columbus Dispatch said.

Laura Panichi is married to Vincent Panichi, Voinovich s longtime personal accountant.

Noe was convicted last month on charges that he stole from a $50 million investment in rare coins that he managed for the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. The former GOP fundraiser was sentenced to 18 years in prison and ordered to repay the state $13.7 million.

Quarterly payments of $2,500 were made from Noe s businesses to Laura Panichi s company in at least 2003, according to exhibits from Noe s trial that were made available this week at the request of The Dispatch.

Donald Brey, an attorney for Vincent Panichi, told the newspaper that the payments were legitimate and have been explained to investigators. He said he was told the Panichis were not the targets of the investigation.

Brey declined to discuss what the payments covered or provide details on Laura Panichi s company.

There is an ongoing investigation, and Vince wants to do his public duty by not saying anything to the press that could interfere with it, Brey said.

Records show DLII Inc. was incorporated in Florida in 1993, and Laura Panichi is its only officer. Corporate filings do not reveal what the business does.

Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles, part of a task force that investigated Noe and continues to pursue other cases, declined to comment to The Dispatch.

A spokesman for Voinovich told the newspaper that the Republican senator knew nothing about any payments from Noe to Laura Panichi s company.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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