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On Wednesday Tom Gasper, the former top financial officer at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation was sentenced to more than five years in prison for Racketeering. Gasper accepted bribes, including cash and the use of a Florida condominium, in return for steering BWC investments to friends.

Gasper served as chief financial officer between 1995 and 2004, managing a $19 billion portfolio. He lamented “the incredible and overwhelming politicization of the bureau while I was there.”

Throughout the proceedings Gasper contended that he was compelled to invest with the companies that his superiors ordered him to work with. Allegedly, Gasper has been cooperating with investigators which could mean additional indictments to come. The big question will be how far up the chain of command will the prosecutors be able reach.

Tom Noe, a Republican fund-raiser and coin dealer, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for stealing millions of dollars from a $50 million investment in rare coins that Gasper approved. Then-Gov. Bob Taft was convicted of misdemeanor ethics charges for failure to report gifts from Noe and others.

Gasper had previously pleaded guilty to money laundering in Franklin County Common Pleas Court where he was also sentenced to five years in state prison, to be served at the same time as his federal sentence.

It is a shame that the public trust has been violated in such an egregious breach by these greedy power brokers. Sadly, it always seems that those who are truly orchestrating the fraud and deceptive conduct remain well insulated while their minions take the fall. Lets hope the buck does not stop with Gasper in this instance.

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