Ohio Man Sentenced to 3 Years for Role in Workers’ Fund Scandal

May 7, 2007

An investment marketer who pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe a former official at the state’s insurance fund for injured workers was sentenced to three years and one month in prison.

Clarke Blizzard acknowledged in court documents that he agreed to provide “things of value” to Terrence Gasper, the former chief financial officer of the Ohio Department of Workers’ Compensation, in exchange for agency business.

Blizzard, who entered his plea in January, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David Dowd.

Gasper pleaded guilty last June to accepting bribes in exchange for doling out agency business and awaits sentencing as he cooperates with authorities.

The bureau has been beset by an investment scandal uncovered in 2005.

More than $300 million in losses were reported, and the investigation reached all the way to former Gov. Bob Taft, who pleaded no contest to charges that he failed to report golf outings and other gifts on his disclosure forms. Taft was fined $4,000.

A state audit released in March cited mismanagement and a lack of oversight as the keys to scandals at the agency. The report by Auditor Mary Taylor’s office also found during the review of operations for 2005 and 2006 that some key financial documents had been destroyed.

The scandals started with rare-coin dealer Tom Noe, now imprisoned for stealing from a $50 million rare-coin investment he managed for the bureau.

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