Man who bilked millions in Navy charity scam gets 28 years - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Man who bilked millions in Navy charity scam gets 28 years

  • Man convicted of running charity that stole millions of dollars intended for Navy veterans
  • Authorities: Charity chief, Bobby Thompson, was really former Army Capt. John Donald Cody
  • Cody, 67, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1972, authorities say
  • The case was prosecuted in Ohio

By CNN Staff

A man convicted of running a charity scam that stole millions of dollars intended for Navy veterans was sentenced in an Ohio courtroom Monday morning to 28 years in prison, CNN affiliate WOIO reported.

The man, who calls himself Bobby Thompson -- but who authorities say is lawyer and former Army Capt. John Donald Cody -- also was ordered to pay more than $6 million in fines, according to WOIO.

He was convicted in a Cuyahoga County court last month of running a telemarketing scam through his Florida-based U.S. Navy Veterans Association. Authorities said the charity raised about $100 million from donors across the country from 2002 to 2010, but little went to help veterans, The Plain Dealer newspaper of Cleveland reported.

Thompson disappeared in 2010 after the St. Petersburg Times in Florida ran stories questioning the charity's legitimacy. U.S. marshals arrested him in Oregon after a two-year nationwide manhunt, during which he was placed on the list of "America's Most Wanted" fugitives. Investigators said they found almost $1 million in a storage unit.

U.S. marshals said Thompson was really John Donald Cody, now 67, who graduated from Harvard Law School in 1972, served as a captain in the U.S. Army's military intelligence unit and once practiced law in Arizona.

The Ohio attorney general's office prosecuted the case, alleging that donors from that state gave more than $2 million to the charity.

Thompson was convicted in November of 23 charges, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, racketeering, money laundering, records tampering, theft and identity theft, CNN affiliate WKYC reported.

At his trial, prosecution witnesses testified that Thompson forged identification cards with stolen identities, and faked signatures and addresses of charity offices, The Plain Dealer reported.

He had faced a prison sentence of between 10 and 70 years, according to the newspaper.

Thompson plans to appeal the conviction, The Plain Dealer reported, citing defense attorney Joseph Patituce.
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