Former Ohio Worker’s Comp Fund Official Expected to Enter Guilty Plea

June 8, 2006

Prosecutors say Terrence Gasper, the former chief financial officer at Ohio’s $15 billion insurance fund for injured workers, exchanged investment opportunities for money, his son’s college tuition and stays at a Florida condominium.

Terrence Gasper, the first official with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to be charged in the yearlong investigation of the scandal-tainted fund, was scheduled to appear in state and federal court this week. His attorney, Terrence Grady, confirmed Gasper would plead guilty in both courts.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said last week that Gasper, 59, would admit he received $25,000 from rare-coin dealer Tom Noe in return for doling out investment business from the workers compensation bureau to Noe.

Gasper also faces federal racketeering charges and state charges of money laundering and ethics violations for failing to report income, gifts, travel and meals on mandatory annual disclosure forms.

The investigation has already shaken the state’s
Republican-dominated government. It has led to ethics charges
against Gov. Bob Taft, who pleaded no contest for failing to report
gifts such as golf outings, the ouster of the bureau’s
administrator, the firing of its chief investment officer and an
overhaul of the fund’s investment operations.

The charges against Gasper are the first in an expected series of charges against others connected with the bureau’s investments, O’Brien said.

Noe pleaded guilty last week to illegally funneling money to President Bush’s re-election campaign and still faces allegations that he embezzled $1 million from a $50 million rare-coin investment he managed for the Ohio Workers’ Compensation fund.

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