28-year sentence in Ohio in $100M charity scam

Man collected money throughout country for fraudulent Navy veterans organization
Associated Press
Dec 17, 2013

A man convicted of masterminding a $100 million, cross-country Navy veterans charity fraud was sentenced to 28 years in prison Monday.

Judge Steven Gall also ordered the defendant, who identifies himself as 67-year-old Bobby Thompson, to pay a $6 million fine. Authorities say the defendant is Harvard-trained attorney John Donald Cody.

The Ohio attorney general's office, which handled his trial, asked the judge in a filing last week to sentence him to 41 years in prison.

The judge rejected a request for a new trial. The defense had said comments by jurors after the verdict that they were disappointed he hadn't testified showed they were biased against him.

The defendant, whose appearance in court Monday was neat in contrast to the final days of his trial, slumped in his chair as the sentence was read. He complained to the judge about alleged abusive treatment by jailers while locked up during the trial.

There was no immediate response from the sheriff's department. Jailers said earlier that the defendant had acted erratically and had bloodied his forehead smashing it against a holding cell wall.

The judge said the crimes had harmed veterans who were the intended beneficiaries of the donations and also had hurt other charities as donors became skeptical of giving.

"Everyone's afraid to give," Gall said.

He said the sentence reflected the length, extent and amount of the charity "charade."

Defense attorney Joseph Patituce said after the verdict and again after the sentencing that ineffective legal representation issues stemming from limited preparation time might be a basis for an appeal.

His client denies committing the crimes, Patituce said.

The defense hinted at a CIA covert operation and showed jurors photos of the defendant with President George W. Bush, suggesting Thompson was acting with government sanction.

Thompson was convicted Nov. 14 of racketeering, theft, money laundering and 12 counts of identity theft. The prosecutor showed jurors identification cards with the defendant's photo but different names and issued by government agencies and companies in numerous states.

Thompson sat upright, taking notes during much of his trial but turned unpredictable in the final few days, appearing in court with his shirt unbuttoned to his waist and uncombed hair hanging down his face.

The judge, who expressed irritation with Thompson over his appearance, issued an order that he be "dressed, groomed and showered" by 8 a.m. on trial days and directed deputies to bring him to court "by any means necessary."

Attorney General Mike DeWine's office had asked that $330,778 of the seized money cover investigation and trial costs, but DeWine said after the sentencing that the money instead would go to reputable veterans charities.

The office also wants $650,871.30 for a default judgment order, with the money going to veterans charities, according to Dan Tierney, a DeWine spokesman.

An additional $101,000 seized from Thompson has already been distributed by Ohio to veterans charities.

The onetime fugitive signaled he would testify at trial but changed his mind.

The fraud occurred in 41 states, according to trial testimony, and Ohio took the lead, indicting Thompson in 2010. He disappeared for nearly two years and was arrested last year in Portland, Ore.

He was convicted of looting the United States Navy Veterans Association, a charity he ran in Tampa, Fla.

Only a fraction of the $100 million was found. When Thompson was arrested, authorities found fake IDs and a suitcase with $980,000 in cash.

Records show the defendant had showered politicians, often Republicans, with political donations.

Politicians who received donations from him, according to campaign finance filings, include Bush and former presidential contenders Mitt Romney, John McCain and Rudolph Giuliani.

The defendant was identified through military fingerprint records.

Comments

deertracker

Shame. What a waste!

The Big Dog's back

Darn Gov picking on a business owner.

Pterocarya frax...

Good! I am glad they got this Republican scammer. Now when are they gonna nail Hannity and Ollie North for their veterans' charity scam?

Contango

Re: "Republican scammer."

"Harvard-trained attorney,"

Obviously a liberal.

Pterocarya frax...

What do these people have in common:

Ted Cruz, William Bennett, Caspar Weinberger, Elizabeth Dole, Ted Stevens, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Mitt Romney.

They all went to Harvard Law School, and all are conservative Republicans. You make yourself look silly when you try little tricks like that.

Contango

Re: "Republican scammer"

See 'good' Democrats like Bernie Madoff and Jon Corzine who scammed billions.

To quote you: "You make yourself look silly when you try little tricks like that."

JudgeMeNot

The biggest grifter of all time, 'Al Gore', went to Harvard.

In 2008, Al Gore predicted the North Polar Ice Cap would be completely ice free in five years.

Contango

And let's remember the BIGGEST generational transfer of wealth scams currently being perpetrated by the Democrats on the Gen Xers and Millennials:

Social Security and Medicare.

At least with Obama☭are they're open about needing the young "Invincibles" to financially support their health care scheme.

Dr. Information

Both parties have fault to pass around. I think American's in general would absolutely go bonkers for Obama if he would just man up and own up that he has been wrong, his policies are not working and neither is his golden key Obamacare. Drop the crap, work with both sides, compromise and get America back on track while reducing debt.

The problem is, Obama's ego and fame monger ways get in the way to many times. Its unfortunate and sad for this country.

Retiree

How soon we for get who Obama followed as president. Let me remind you when Clinton left office this country was over six hundred billion in the black. When Bush left office we were in a deep recession. I read in the Wall Street Journal that it will take decades to recover from the mess that Bush left this country in. Blame Obama all you want but you need to look back thirty years and see how things transpired.

Contango

Re: "you need to look back thirty years and see how things transpired."

Try a little more than 40.

Ol' "guns and butter" Johnson stole the SS trust fund and off-loaded Fannie Mae in order to 'balance' his 1969 budget.

The 2001 budget surplus was a fluke.

It was a combination of increased tax receipts due to cap ex spending leading up to Y2K and capital gains from the tech bubble which began to unravel in Mar. 2000.

Not only that, but the Repub Congress helped to keep Mr. Clinton's spending in check.

The debt continues to rise under the current profligate spender in the WH.

http://mercatus.org/publication/...