Navy Veterans Investigation

Bobby Thompson was taken into custody Monday evening in Porland, Oregon.  Thompson is the alleged mastermind behind a massive sham veterans' charity that bilked the public of millions of dollars. He is in federal custody this morning.  Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

Photo gallery: U.S. Navy Veterans Scam


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Curious about its donations to local political figures, reporter Jeff Testerman and researcher John Martin began trying to unravel the mystery behind the Navy Veterans charity. In a six-month investigation, the Times could find only one officer in the entire organization, and the nonprofit declined to reveal where its millions of dollars of income went. Its headquarters: a dilapidated duplex in Ybor City.

Charity leader's sideline: politics

IRS-approved charities are not supposed to show partisanship nor endorse politicians. Yet Bobby Thompson, the head of Navy Veterans Association, raised thousands of dollars through a political action commmittee associated with Navy Veterans, all the while hobnobbing with politicans from George W. Bush to Charlie Crist to Pam Iorio.

  1. Ex-Navy Veterans charity aide suspended from practicing law


    Karmika V. Rubin, former executive assistant and special counsel to Bobby Thompson and the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, has been suspended from practicing law in Florida.

    Karmika Rubin worked for the sham charity Navy Veterans of Tampa as an assistant and counsel.
  2. Bobby Thompson sentenced to 28 years in Navy Veterans charity scam


    Ohio's case against Bobby Thompson came to a close Monday with a judge in Cleveland handing a 28-year sentence to the man convicted of running a nationwide charity scam from an Ybor City duplex.

    Bobby Thompson speaks Monday during his sentencing on racketeering, theft and money laundering charges. Thompson, whose real name is John Donald Cody, complained about alleged abusive treatment by jailers while locked up during the trial. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison for defrauding donors of up to $100 million in 41 states through the United States Navy Veterans Association, a charity he ran in Tampa.
  3. U.S. Navy Veterans Association charity fraud trial ends with Bobby Thompson guilty on all counts


    CLEVELAND — He claimed to be a retired Naval commander and raised more than $100 million from generous Americans for his charity in Tampa.

    Bobby Thompson closes his eyes as the verdict is read by the judge Thursday in Cleveland. Thompson was convicted of racketeering, theft, money laundering and other charges.
  4. Verdict in Bobby Thompson fraud trial to be announced at 9 a.m. Thursday


    CLEVELAND — It took the jury only three hours to decide Bobby Thompson's fate.

  5. Defense: Navy Vets didn't control all money raised, as its telemarketer had claimed


    CLEVELAND — The first week of the trial of Bobby Thompson elicited plenty of damaging testimony about the founder of the Tampa charity known as the U.S. Navy Veterans Association.

    Bobby Thompson smiled when a fundraiser said Navy Vets didn’t control much of the money raised.
  6. Bobby Thompson wanted telemarketers to avoid scrutiny for his charity


    CLEVELAND — A former telemarketer for U.S. Navy Veterans Association testified Wednesday that the man who ran the Tampa charity put unusual conditions on fundraising in some states.

    Bobby Thompson, also known according to authorities as Harvard-trained attorney John Donald Cody, sits in a courtroom Tuesday at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center in Cleveland. Thompson is charged with defrauding donors to a reputed charity, the United States Navy Veterans Association, based in Tampa. He could face 40 years in prison if convicted.
  7. Navy Veterans' attorney recalls Bobby Thompson's secretive ways


    CLEVELAND — Bobby Thompson was a "Machiavellian genius" who drank four Bloody Marys at a business breakfast, dressed like a homeless man and claimed he was funded through a "black box" budget at the CIA.

    Bobby Thompson is charged with fraud, money laundering and theft.
  8. Lawyers offer vastly different portraits of Bobby Thompson during Navy Vets trial


    CLEVELAND — In hindsight, maybe Bobby Thompson's lawyer should have seen the red flags.

    Bobby Thompson listens to opening arguments in his trial in Cleveland on Monday, Oct. 7, 2013. Thompson, 67, whom authorities have identified as wanted FBI fugitive John Donald Cody, ran a charity out of a Tampa duplex.
  9. Mystery man Bobby Thompson blames CIA for bogus charity


    The man known as Bobby Thompson goes on trial in state court in Cleveland today.

  10. Political contributions questioned from Navy Vets charity scam


    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio attorney general's multi-state case against a man accused of fraud after collecting as much as $100 million in the name of Navy veterans doesn't address the man's donations to a who's who of mostly Republican politicians, including the attorney general himself.