Beware Con Men raising funds !

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) – An Ohio man who called himself Bobby Thompson was found guilty of defrauding donors of in 40 states of nearly $100 million through a fake charity for U.S. Navy veterans, a judge said on Thursday.

John Donald Cody, known by his alias of Bobby Thompson, faces up to 66 years in prison, prosecutors said. A Cuyahoga County common pleas court jury reached a guilty verdict on Wednesday on all 23 counts including identity fraud, Judge Steven Gall announced.

Though charged as Bobby Thompson, authorities say the man was actually Cody, 66, a Harvard-trained lawyer and former member of the U.S. Army’s military intelligence unit and a cold-case fugitive wanted by the FBI since 1987.

“After weeks of testimony by dozens of prosecution witnesses, the defense rested without calling anyone to the stand because there is no defense for the scam that John Donald Cody pulled on Americans in the name of our country’s veterans,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Prosecutors said Cody ran the U.S. Navy Veterans Association (USNVA), a bogus charity headquartered in Tampa, Florida. Authorities say he fled Florida using fake identities after a reporter began digging into his past and failed to find anyone else connected to USNVA.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Daniel Trotta and David Gregorio)

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