Veterans charity scam nets 28-year sentence
CLEVELAND — A man convicted of masterminding a $100 million, cross-country Navy veterans charity fraud was sentenced to 28 years in prison on Monday.
Judge Steven Gall ordered the defendant, who identifies himself as 67-year-old Bobby Thompson, to pay a $6 million fine. Authorities say the defendant is Harvard-trained attorney John Donald Cody.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office, which handled his trial, asked the judge in a filing last week to sentence him to 41 years in prison.
The judge rejected a request for a new trial. The defense had said comments by jurors after the verdict that they were disappointed he hadn't testified showed they were biased against him.
The defendant, whose appearance in court on Monday was neat in contrast to the final days of his trial, slumped in his chair as the sentence was read. He complained to the judge about alleged abusive treatment by jailers while locked up during the trial.
There was no immediate response from the sheriff's department. Jailers said earlier that the defendant had acted erratically and had bloodied his forehead smashing it against a holding cell wall.
The judge said the crimes had harmed veterans who were the intended beneficiaries of the donations and also had hurt other charities as donors became skeptical of giving.
“Everyone's afraid to give,” Gall said.
He said the sentence reflected the length, extent and amount of the charity “charade.”
Defense attorney Joseph Patituce said after the verdict and again after the sentencing that ineffective legal representation issues stemming from limited preparation time might be a basis for an appeal.
His client denies committing the crimes, Patituce said.
The defense hinted at a CIA covert operation and showed jurors photos of the defendant with President George W. Bush, suggesting Thompson was acting with government sanction.
Thompson was convicted Nov. 14 of racketeering, theft, money laundering and 12 counts of identity theft. The prosecutor showed jurors identification cards with the defendant's photo but different names and issued by government agencies and companies in numerous states.
Thompson sat upright, taking notes during much of his trial but turned unpredictable in the final few days, appearing in court with his shirt unbuttoned to his waist and uncombed hair hanging down his face.
The judge, who expressed irritation with Thompson over his appearance, issued an order that he be “dressed, groomed and showered” by 8 a.m. on trial days and directed deputies to bring him to court “by any means necessary.”
Attorney General Mike DeWine's office had asked that $330,778 of the seized money cover investigation and trial costs, but DeWine said after the sentencing that the money instead would go to reputable veterans charities.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Housing authority officer shot dead in New Orleans
- Chicago inmate eats screws, needles, amasses $1M medical tab
- Florida mother who refused circumcision for son, 4, freed
- Navy divers to salvage remains of Confederate warship in Georgia
- John Nash, wife, ‘A Beautiful Mind’ inspiration, die in N.J. taxi crash
- Yellowstone injuries: Slips, falls outpace bear maulings
- Rare sighting of bird thrills watchers in Kansas
- Protester leaves Shell ship north of Seattle; 1 remains
- Cleveland protests of officer’s acquittal mostly peaceful
- Senator Warren calls for public hearings on bank waivers
- After bruising safety crisis, U.S. car watchdog shows its bite