WANTED IN OHIO: The man who called himself "Bobby Thompson," founder of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association.
The state of Ohio today issued a nationwide arrest warrant for the man who called himself Bobby Thompson, after authorities there determined he had stolen the identify from a Bellingham, Wash. man years ago.
The true identity and whereabouts of the man who called himself Bobby Thompson, founder of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, are unknown.
Posing as Thompson, the man gave $67,500 to the campaigns of Virginia politicians in 2009. All except $1,000 went to Republicans; Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign got $55,500 of the total.
Cuccinelli announced last week that he would give away those campaign contributions to veterans charities (the other Virginia politicians distanced themselves from Thompson’s cash months ago). Just two days later, federal agents executed search warrants in Florida trying to get to the bottom of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association scam.
From the St. Petersburg Times:
“Our investigators have determined that this individual stole the identity of someone else and used that as a centerpiece of an apparent scam that has continued for seven years and involved tens of millions of dollars,” said [Ohio Attorney General Richard] Cordray. “We don’t know who this individual is yet, but we do know that he is not Bobby Thompson.”
Cordray said his office found evidence of the identity theft when investigators reviewed the registration record signed by Bobby Thompson to rent a UPS mailbox in Cincinnati for the Navy Veterans group in 2003.
The date of birth and the Social Security number on the rental agreement belonged to a Bobby Thompson in Bellingham, Wash., a man Cordray said “has absolutely no connection to the U.S. Navy Veterans Association.”
Here’s one suggestion where they should begin looking: New Jersey. The U.S. Navy Vets Web site lists more mail drops (at UPS stores) in that state than any other. I’d start in the Atlantic City area. There’s a sleazy quality to “Thompson” that fits in well with that town.
Another place would be the Columbus, Ohio. The suburb of New Albany is where the U.S. Navy Veterans former general counsel, Helen Mac Murray, is based. She’s part of a small shop of GOP lawyers who used to work in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office under the first lady of the Ohio GOP, former attorney general and state auditor Betty Montgomery. Betty Montgomery works for that law firm, too. They recently ditched “Thompson” after telling a judge they had been unable to contact him for weeks. In 2009, the U.S. Navy Vets in 2009 paid MacMurray, Petersen & Shuster more than $700,000 in legal fees, the St. Pete Times has reported. Coincidentally, Mac Murray went to college in the Atlantic City, N.J. area.
The St. Petersburg Times published their first story on “Thompson” and the U.S. Navy Veterans Association in March.
In May, The Roanoke Times uncovered the Virginia angle. The story detailed how “Thompson” spread around campaign cash to Virginia lawmakers, then bamboozled the General Assembly into passing a law exempting the U.S. Navy Vets from having to register with state authorities to raise money in Virginia — a huge Navy state.
The St. Petersburg Times has tallied the total raised by U.S. Navy Vets national and state chapters at $99 million since 2001.
Nobody knows where that money is, although hundreds of thousands of dollars went to political campaigns around the country, usually to Republicans.
Cuccinelli, who personally called “Thompson” last August and solicited a third contribution from him (it was $50,000) has received more money from “Thompson” than any other politician in the nation.
“Thompson” and the U.S. Navy Veterans Association are now under investigation by the IRS and authorities in at least six states.