Make us your home page
Instagram

Mysterious Navy Vets founder says he'll represent himself at trial

Bobby Thompson, right, talks with lawyer Mark Stanton in court in Cleveland on Tuesday. Thompson pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption, theft and money laundering after almost two years as a fugitive.

Associated Press

Bobby Thompson, right, talks with lawyer Mark Stanton in court in Cleveland on Tuesday. Thompson pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption, theft and money laundering after almost two years as a fugitive.

Clad in an orange jumpsuit, manacled at the wrists and ankles and limping badly, Bobby Thompson was arraigned in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas in Cleveland on Tuesday morning.

After nearly two years as a fugitive, Thompson, 66, pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption, theft and money laundering stemming from his years running U.S. Navy Veterans Association, a sham charity housed in a Tampa duplex.

Common Pleas Judge Hollie Gallagher refused to allow Thompson, who led authorities on an intensive, cross country manhunt, to post bail. He remains in the Cuyahoga County jail.

Thompson was silent during the brief hearing Tuesday, speaking only to acknowledge he understood the charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 25 years.

Though the U.S. marshals who apprehended him in Oregon on April 30 found nearly $1 million in cash in a rented storage unit, Thompson told authorities he is indigent and needs a public defender.

On Tuesday morning, his court-assigned attorney, Mark Stanton, said Thompson wants to be his own lead counsel.

A hearing on that request will be held later this week.

Thompson is also charged with stealing the identity he used during the years he ran Navy Veterans. The real Bobby Thompson is a former Bureau of Indian Affairs employee who lives in Washington state.

When he was arrested, the man known as Thompson was carrying three other stolen identities. The storage unit he had rented contained a suitcase of birth certificates and personal documents that could be used to create additional aliases.

Officials are seeking the public's help in uncovering Thompson's true identity. Tipsters can call the U.S. Marshals Service toll-free at 1-866-492-6833.

Kris Hundley can be reached at (727) 892-2996 or khundley@tampabay.com. Brian Albrecht of the Cleveland Plain Dealer contributed to this report.

Mysterious Navy Vets founder says he'll represent himself at trial 05/08/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay is ground-zero for assignment of benefits cases over broken auto glass

    Banking

    When Rachel Thorpe tried to renew her auto insurance last year for her Toyta RAV4, she was stunned to see her monthly premium had nearly doubled to $600. The Sarasota driver was baffled since her only recent claim was over a broken windshield.

    Auto glass lawsuits filed by a third party (through what's known as assignment of benefits) are skyrocketing in Tampa Bay.
[Times file photo]
  2. Siesta Beach tops Dr. Beach's rankings of best locations in America

    Tourism

    Three beaches in Florida made it on a highly coveted list of the top 10 in America this year, ranked by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, a.k.a. "Dr. Beach."

    This May 18, 2017 photo shows Siesta Beach on Siesta Key in Sarasota, Fla. Siesta Beach is No. 1 on the list of best beaches for the summer of 2017 compiled by Stephen Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach, a professor at Florida International University. [Chris O'Meara | Associated Press]
  3. Brooksville's popular Florida Cracker Kitchen aims at statewide expansion

    Retail

    BROOKSVILLE — Florida Cracker Kitchen's inverted cowboy boot logo — seemingly plastered on every pickup truck in Hernando County — may someday be just as ubiquitous across the state.

    Shrimp and grits is a signature dish at Florida Cracker Kitchen, which plans to open more restaurants in the state.
  4. Alison Barlow named director to spur creative economy, jobs of St. Pete Innovation District

    Economic Development

    After an extensive search, the recently created St. Pete Innovation District now has its first executive director. Alison Barlow on Thursday was named to the position in which she will help recruit and facilitate a designated downtown St. Petersburg area whose assets and members range from USF St. Petersburg, Johns …

    Alison Barlow has been named the first executive director of the recently created St. Pete Innovation District, a designated downtown St. Petersburg area whose assets and members range from USF St. Petersburg, Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital and Poynter Institute to SRI International and the USF College of Marine Science, among many other organizations. Barlow, who most recently served as manager of the Collaborative Labs at St. Petersburg College, starts her new job June 16.[Photo courtesy of LinkedIn]
  5. Trigaux: Amid a record turnout, regional technology group spotlights successes, desire to do more

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — They came. They saw. They celebrated Tampa Bay's tech momentum.

    A record turnout event by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, held May 24 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, featured a panel of area tech executives talking about the challenges encountered during their respective mergers and acquisitions. Show, from left to right, are: Gerard Purcell, senior vice president of global IT integration at Tech Data Corp.; John Kuemmel, chief information officer at Triad Retail Media, and Chris Cate, chief operating officer at Valpak. [Robert Trigaux, Times]