Federal authorities finally have determined the identity of a man who used the name Bobby Thompson and allegedly ran a fraudulent veterans charity that bilked donors in Virginia and other states out of millions of dollars.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that authorities will disclose Thompson’s identity this morning in a press conference at the federal courthouse in Cleveland. Thompson is in custody in Ohio awaiting trial on charges of theft, money laundering, corruption and tampering with records for his role running the now-defunct U.S. Navy Veterans Association. He also has been under investigation in Virginia, where the USNVA collected at least $2 million from state residents.
Authorities said Thompson stole the identity of a Washington man to orchestrate a fundraising scam that generated tens of millions of dollars since 2001. The Florida-based organization collected at least $2 million from Virginia residents over a five-year period that ended in 2010, according to findings by the state’s consumer affairs agency that were made public last year.
Thompson gave $55,500 to the campaign of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in 2009. After Thompson went missing in 2010, Cuccinelli donated the sequestered campaign funds plus interest to veterans support groups in the state.
Update: The Tampa Bay Times reports that authorities will announce that the suspect’s name is John Donald Cody, a former military intelligence officer who has been on an FBI wanted list since 1987.
– Michael Sluss