Saturday, May 28, 2005

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

Workers compensation is one of those areas of the law that is better left unexamined.  Unfortunately for the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) and its CEO, James Conrad, the spotlight is now focused on a rather peculiar investment by the Bureau that seems to be missing.  According to an AP story (here), the BWC bought approximately $55 million in rare coins through a Toledo dealer as part of an investment strategy to diversify its portfolio.  Companies pay hefty premiums into state workers comp pools, and investment gains should lower the cost of insurance.  About $10-12 million worth of coins, however, are missing, and the coin dealer, Tom Noe, is being investigated for the disappearance.  Conrad resigned from the BWC because of the disappearance, and questions have been raised about the use of Noe because he was a substantial contributor to Governor Taft and other Republican candidates. Collectibles are notoriously hard to value -- just ask Ellen about the value of her Beanie Baby stash -- and subject to theft, unlike stocks and bonds. While the missing coins are only a small part of the BWC's $15 billion investment fund, it shows that even a small-scale fraud can blow up once it is tied in with campaign contributions. (ph)

Corruption, Fraud, Investigations | Permalink

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