Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ohio closes vet scam case as defendant set to testify

Bobby Thompson, whose real name is John Donald Cody, ran a charity for Navy vets in Ybor City.

Bobby Thompson, whose real name is John Donald Cody, ran a charity for Navy vets in Ybor City.

CLEVELAND — After 17 days of testimony and 42 witnesses, the state of Ohio concluded its case Tuesday afternoon against Bobby Thompson, the man accused of fraud, money laundering and theft in connection with his operation of a Tampa veterans' charity.

Today, the jurors may finally get to hear from the man himself.

Defense attorney Joseph Patituce said he expects his client to take the stand in his own defense after four weeks of trial and hours of damaging testimony.

The defendant has acknowledged that his real name is John Donald Cody, a Harvard-trained lawyer who was a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army until 1985. Thompson is an identity he stole from a man in Washington state.

As Thompson, he ran U.S. Navy Veterans from a dilapidated apartment in Ybor City for nearly a decade, raising more than $100 million in donations but giving little assistance to veterans.

During the past four weeks, witnesses have testified that Thompson had a dozen more fake identities in his possession when he was apprehended in April 2012.

It also emerged from testimony Tuesday that even as he was running Navy Veterans through mid 2010, he was building an arsenal of aliases. In 2005 and 2006, he opened two bank accounts in Tampa using the name of a Gallup, N.M., man, according to documents from the prosecution. And in 2008, he applied for a passport using the identity of another Gallup resident who was African-American. Thompson is white. The application was denied, but the reasons for the denial were not disclosed.

Though the jury has not heard from the defendant, they heard his voice indirectly Tuesday. Earlier this year, while still planning to represent himself, Thompson cross-examined Ronnie D. Brittain, the New Mexico resident whose identity was used on the Tampa bank accounts.

The deposition was video recorded in Gallup because the witness has a medical condition that prohibited his travel to Ohio. Thompson, dressed in orange jail scrubs and speaking softly, questioned Brittain via computer from Cleveland.

When Thompson asked the witness if he had actually lost any money because of having his identity stolen, Brittain snapped back.

"I don't know of any actual theft, but I don't find it very funny," said Brittain, whose name, birth date and Social Security number were fraudulently used by Thompson on numerous documents. "Someone did something they shouldn't be doing. That's the truth."

Ohio closes vet scam case as defendant set to testify 11/05/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 11:08am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. William March: Capin and Cruz appear destined for District 1 race

    Local Government

    Tampa City Council member Yolie Capin and state Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, appear headed for a primary in the District 1 County Commission race, which has Democrats worried they'll once again have strong candidates competing against each other in primaries, to the detriment of their chances against Republicans.

    Times Correspondent William March
  2. Watch: Gorilla dances like a 'maniac' in kiddie pool

    Blogs

    Zola, a gorilla who resides at the Dallas Zoo, has gone viral after showing off his dance moves.
  3. Bill Clinton coming to Miami Beach on Saturday for mayors' convention

    Blogs

    From our friends at the Miami Herald:

    Former President Bill Clinton gives the opening address to kick off a meeting of International Aid Groups at the InterAction Forum 2017 at the Washington Convention Center on June 20.
  4. Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault

    National

    WASHINGTON — Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried "eyes only" instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Barack Obama shake hands at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. [Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]
  5. GOP's challenge: Finding votes for Senate health care bill (w/video)

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally unwrapped his plan for dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law. Now comes his next challenge — persuading enough Republicans to back the measure and avert a defeat that could be shattering for President Donald Trump and the GOP.

    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks to reporters at the Capitol after Republicans released their long-awaited bill to scuttle much of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 22, 2017. He is one of four GOP senators to say they are opposed it but are open to negotiations, which could put the measure in immediate jeopardy. [Associated Press]