Veterans' Charity Scammer Gets 28 Years

Bobby Thompson's organization took in $100M
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2013 10:49 AM CST
Veterans' Charity Scammer Gets 28 Years
This Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 photo shows Bobby Thompson, aka John Donald Cody, in court in Cleveland.   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

After just three hours of jury deliberation, an Ohio judge has sentenced one Bobby Thompson to 28 years over a fraudulent charity that took in some $100 million. John Donald Cody, a Harvard-educated lawyer, hid behind the name Bobby Thompson as he established the US Navy Veterans Association, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Based in Tampa, Fla., the "charity" sought donations from people in 41 states for eight years beginning in 2002. Turns out it was mostly just mailboxes, bank accounts, and telemarketers. Cody was convicted last month of racketeering, theft, identity theft, and money laundering, the AP reports.

The truth came out following investigations by the St. Petersburg Times and Ohio's attorney general, but Cody hid for two years. He was finally arrested in Portland, Ore.; he had a locker with about $1 million in cash. After that, things got weirder: First, Cody claimed he was working for the CIA. Then after the prosecution called 42 witnesses, the defense called... none, and Cody's lawyer didn't even make a closing argument. Near the end of the trial, Cody bashed his head into the wall of a cell next to the courtroom several times. The defense team is now seeking a new trial, saying Cody had been uncooperative at times and the defense lacked time to prepare, the AP notes. (Read more Bobby Thompson stories.)

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