- Greg Coffman of Novelty Advertising was charged with theft and two counts of failing to provide notice of non-payment of required premium or contribution.
- This concerned employee embezzlement of insurance payments and failure to report outstanding payments.
- The case against Coffman was dismissed. Novelty Advertising was then charged with two counts of failure to provide notice of non-payment of premium or contribution.
- The company was fined $ 5,000 on each count and ordered to pay $ 37,869.23 in restitution.
COSHOCTON – The chairman of the nation’s longest-serving promotional products distributor appeared in Coshocton County Common Plea Court on Friday.
Gregory R. Coffman, 52, formerly of Coshocton, was charged in May with theft, a fifth degree felony, for incidents from September 1, 2018 to June 7, 2019, and two counts of failure to provide notice failure to make premium payment or required contribution, fourth degree felonies, as a result of incidents that occurred on December 1, 2018 and June 13, 2019. Court documents list his current residence in Lakeville, Minnesota.
Coffman is president of Novelty Advertising, a promotional products distributor that opened in 1895. Although the company is no longer operating from its old location, it does not appear to officially go bankrupt.
The theft charge accused Coffman of embezzling employees’ share of insurance payments. The other two charges relate to state law that notice must be given when such premium payments are not made. Failure to make payments resulted in termination of the employee’s coverage, according to the indictment.
Special Prosecutor Christine Williams, Deputy District Attorney for Knox County, said the state agreed to drop the case in exchange for Coffman pleading guilty on behalf of Novelty Advertising to an information bill against the company. The briefing note contained the two counts of failure to provide notice of non-payment of premium or required contribution, fourth degree felonies.
Novelty Advertising was fined $ 5,000 on each count and $ 37,869.23 in restitution by Special Judge appointed Linton Lewis. Lawyer Karl Schneider said his client had a cashier’s check for the return. The fine would be paid over the next two years.
Coffman, on behalf of Novelty Advertising, will serve two years of community monitoring sanctions. In the event of a probation violation, Coffman, as a representative of the company, could serve six to 18 months in jail on each count. Coffman made no statement in court.
In January 2020, several properties owned by Novelty Advertising were sold by the court to pay off unpaid debts. According to court documents, Home Loan Savings Bank was seeking to repay more than $ 1.18 million in debt, including interest, on overdue loans.
An auction was held in November by order of the bank which included the main facility at 1148 Walnut St. and its contents. This included warehouse equipment, printing machinery and equipment, office tools and supplies, and antique signs and collectibles.
Pat Kaufman of Kaufman Realty and Auctions said the property was sold for $ 80,000 to a Newark investor who wanted to renovate the building and eventually lease it to different companies.
Kaufman said the content was around $ 53,000. Two highlights were a tow motor sold for $ 5,800 and antique Heidelberg presses for $ 500 and $ 750.
“With the large amount of items for sale, it was hard to guess what the total amount would be. I felt the prices were pretty good overall,” Kaufman said. “The signs seemed to be the highlight of the auction.”