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Navy Veterans Investigation

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. Associated Press

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. As a special punishment, the judge ordered that the mastermind behind the fraudulent U.S. Navy Veterans Association spend …


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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. CNBC's 'American Greed' to focus on U.S. Navy Veterans swindler Bobby Thompson


    This week's episode of CNBC's true crime series American Greed (about "the dark side of the American Dream") features swindler Bobby Thompson, who was found guilty last year of running a nationwide charity scam, the fraudulent U.S. Navy Veterans Association, from an Ybor City duplex. The episode airs at 10 p.m. …

  2. Hunting Navy Veterans fugitive Bobby Thompson, U.S. marshals play name game — and win


    CLEVELAND — He had at least $1 million in cash, believed to be from donors who thought they were giving to the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. But he lived like a pauper, stocking up on beef jerky and bumming meals at homeless shelters.

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


    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.

    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.
  4. Among items found in accused Navy Vets con man's room: the movie 'Catch Me If You Can'


    Among the personal belongings Bobby Thompson left behind in his rented room in Oregon this week was Catch Me If You Can, the hit movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a con man with a knack for stealing identities and evading the law.

  5. Authorities find nearly $1 million in storage unit rented by Navy Vets' Thompson


    Federal agents seeking clues about Bobby Thompson's true identity got a warrant to search a storage locker in Oregon on Wednesday and found two suitcases.

    A photo shows $951,650 seized Wednesday from a Portland, Ore., storage unit allegedly rented under an alias used by the fugitive founder of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association charity scam.
  6. U.S. marshals still don't know Bobby Thompson's true identity


    Bobby Thompson is finally in federal custody on charges of money laundering, fraud and identity theft.

  7. Fugitive sham veterans' charity creator Bobby Thompson may be hiding out in New Mexico


    Time may be running out for Bobby Thompson, who has been a fugitive from the law for more than a year.

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