GUATEMALA CITY — In 2010, one of Central America's poorest countries received huge shipments of humanitarian aid from an unlikely source.
That year Guatemala, where 20 percent of the population lives on less than $1 a day, got $40 million worth of free medicine and medical supplies.
It didn't come from the Red Cross or UNICEF or any other major international relief agency....
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.
But the suspension is unrelated to her work with the fraudulent veterans charity and its founder, who was convicted on racketeering, money laundering and identity theft charges late last year.
Rubin, 40, was suspended by Florida's Supreme Court in December for failing to respond to an inquiry by the state bar association. The group was investigating a complaint that Rubin had misappropriated $6,600 in a client's account. According to the petition to the court, Rubin repeatedly refused to comply with a subpoena for financial records. "The non-compliance was willful," the petition said....
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.
As a special punishment, the judge ordered that the mastermind behind the fraudulent U.S. Navy Veterans Association spend each Veterans Day in solitary confinement for the duration of his prison term....
No one disputes that Police Protective Fund hired felons at its five Florida call centers to solicit donations from the public.
State regulators raided the charity's phone rooms in September after the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting named Police Protective Fund one of the nation's worst charities based on how much it spent over a decade on telemarketing.
They found convicted felons among those working the phones and arrested four of the charity's managers on charges they made the hires....
Editor's note: As part of a yearlong investigation into charities across the nation, the Tampa Bay Times and its reporting partner, the Center for Investigative Reporting, asked readers to suggest nonprofits for closer review. This story is part of an occasional series revealing what we found.
Healing Heroes Network has a mission that tugs at the heartstrings: providing financial assistance to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan so they can get critical medical care....
I hear the Tetons are spectacular. But we didn't make it to Jackson Hole during a trip to Wyoming over the summer. We took the road less traveled, something I would recommend next year when the snow stops flying.
Centennial (pop. 270) is about a three-hour drive northwest of the Denver airport, just over the Colorado line. It's little more than a cluster of a half-dozen or so buildings strung along Highway 130 — a few hotels, a general store and a museum commemorating the town's railroad, mining and timber history. ...
Amanda Thomas is the perfect telemarketer.
She's always perky and pleasant. She races through her pitch without a stumble or pause. She never deviates from the script....
One telemarketing company's aggressive tactics show how wasteful charities make millions from easy targets.11/14/13News
Judith Johnson of Stacyville, Iowa, doesn't get out much anymore.
Legally blind and living on a small Social Security pension, the 72-year-old used to go to church once a week. She stopped out of fear that her new walker would snag on the railroad tracks she had to cross to get there....
CLEVELAND — He claimed to be a retired Naval commander and raised more than $100 million from generous Americans for his charity in Tampa.
He told his lawyer he got funding for U.S. Navy Veterans Association from a "black box" CIA budget and said in court filings that he was working under "non-official cover" for the agency.
But in the end, a jury here decided that Bobby Thompson, 66, was less James Bond and more run-of-the-mill con man. On Thursday, they convicted him on 23 counts of fraud, money laundering and theft in a charity scam first brought to light by a Tampa Bay Times investigation in 2010. ...
CLEVELAND — It took the jury only three hours to decide Bobby Thompson's fate.
But he won't learn it until Thursday. The verdict wasn't announced Wednesday afternoon because a court reporter was unavailable and the defense attorney was picking up his son at day care. The public will learn the jury's decision Thursday at 9 a.m.
The announcement of the jury's speedy deliberations capped an eventful two days in the fraud trial in connection with the U.S. Navy Veterans Association charity that Thompson founded in Tampa....
CLEVELAND — Jurors here were shocked Tuesday afternoon when the defense in the Bobby Thompson case rested without calling a single witness.
Not even Thompson himself.
It was the latest twist in a lengthy trial that has been alternately boring and bizarre.
Thompson, 66, has been charged by Ohio officials with fraud, money laundering and identity theft in connection with his operation of U.S. Navy Veterans Association in Tampa. ...
CLEVELAND — Bobby Thompson's appearance on the stand will have to wait.
Early Wednesday, his attorney's wife went into labor with the couple's second child.
Barring other interruptions, court will resume Tuesday with Thompson's long-awaited testimony.
Thompson, 66, has been accused by Ohio's attorney general of fraud, money laundering and theft in connection with his operation of U.S. Navy Veterans Association....
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....
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.
The jury saw dozens of fake IDs with Thompson's picture and other men's names.
They heard him described as a drinker who dressed like a homeless man and said he got funding from a secret CIA budget.
And they were told about the intricate games Thompson played — faking emails, signatures and addresses — to convince people the charity had other directors and offices, when none, in fact, existed....
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.
He didn't want to exceed donation levels that would trigger a financial audit.
"That gets costly," said Mark Gelvan, whose company worked for Bobby Thompson in 2003 and 2004.
An audit would also presumably have uncovered that Thompson's Navy Veterans had non-existent directors, mail drops as offices and provided little assistance to veterans. The charity collapsed in mid-2010 after authorities began investigating....