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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-01-12 12:06 PM
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Bobby Thompson, fugitive from Navy Vets charity, caught on West Coast
Source: Tampa Bay Times

The man known as Bobby Thompson spent years concocting elaborate disguises to trick donors out of money and elude authorities trying to track him down.

It all came to a quiet end Monday, when U.S. Marshals placed him in handcuffs as he was coming home from a Portland, Oregon bar at about 10:30 p.m.

After nearly two years as a fugitive, the mastermind behind U.S. Navy Veterans Association, a multi-million-dollar sham charity that was run out of a duplex in Tampa, is finally in federal custody.


As Thompson, the fugitive operated what purported to be a prominent veterans' charity with chapters nationwide that raised nearly $100 million over eight years. A series of stories in the Tampa Bay Times in early 2010 revealed that all Navy Veterans' officers were fictional, with the exception of Thompson, and little money went to needy veterans.

Read more:

(Ohio Attorney General's Office)
Bobby Thompson, shown here in pictures from a 2010 wanted poster, 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. (via Times)

(United States Marshals Office)
An arrest mug shot shows Bobby Thompson after he was taken into custody by federal officials early this morning. (via Times)

The backstory:

Nationwide warrant for head of sham veterans' charity: Diverted money to Republican campaigns, November 10, 2010

(Ohio Attorney Generals Office)
President George W. Bush shakes hands with Commander Bobby Thompson of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. Also pictured is political consultant Barry S. Edwards, at a 2008 Republican fundraiser in Washington, D.C. Link

(Ohio Attorney Generals Office)
Commander Bobby Thompson of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association poses with GOP political strategist Karl Rove. Oh my God, political consultant Barry S. Edwards said of this photo. That would put the commander in a different category as someone who was not just some donor. Link

'After a daylong review by IRS agents, the Navy Veterans Connecticut chapter passed the audit.', August 14, 2011


Florida officials initiated legal action against Thompson but dropped it when he became a fugitive.-- Link


As the Navy Vets probe widens, Ohio prosecutors get first guilty plea, June 22, 2011

As we see, there are many, many more criminals to apprehend and incarcerate.

Hats off to determined officers of the law, who honor their oath to protect the public.

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-02-12 10:25 AM
Response to Original message
1. More from the St. Petersburg Times' 2-year investigation into this fugitive
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-13-12 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
2. A job well done.
Edited on Sun May-13-12 04:36 PM by seafan
Hunting Navy Veterans fugitive Bobby Thompson, U.S. marshals play name game and win

By Kris Hundley and John Martin, Times staff writers
May 13, 2012


When Navy Veterans was exposed as a nationwide scam by the Times in March 2010, one of the first officials to react was Richard Cordray, Ohio's attorney general at the time. Though it was based in Tampa, the fake charity had solicited nearly $2 million from Ohio residents.

Cordray's office got a grand jury indictment of Thompson and his accomplice, Blanca Contreras, in October 2010 on charges of corruption, money laundering and fraud. Last year Contreras was sentenced to five years in prison. Thompson couldn't be found to stand trial.

After Cordray lost re-election in January 2011, he called Pete Elliott, the U.S. marshal for the northern district of Ohio, and asked him for help dealing with a tipster who would not stop pestering him. The man claimed Thompson was really a turkey farmer in West Virginia.

The tip proved bogus, but Elliott's men, who had known nothing about the Navy Veterans case, were hooked.

"He's the kind of guy we want to go after," said Elliott, whose team has captured 26,000 fugitives since it was formed in 2003. "I gave them the ability to go anywhere to follow the case. Every week we were one step closer."

By January, Boldin, Deputy Marshal Tony Gardner and Special Deputy Marshal Mike Caruso, a detective on assignment from the Euclid Police Department, were working the Thompson case full time.


An added note here:

Richard Cordray is now the Director of the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, nominated in July, 2011, and ultimately placed into position via recess appointment by President Obama on January 4, 2012.

So the Ohio investigators began work on this case, to find a man they knew only from photographs.

(Photos by DAVID RICHARD | Special to the Times)

In their war room in Cleveland, marshals Tony Gardner, center, Mike Caruso, left, and Pete Elliott combed through databases, hoping a known alias of Bobby Thompson would pop up. Eventually, one did: the unusual name Anderson Yazzie.

Over the course of the next two years, they tracked "Bobby Thompson" all over the country.

Washington State. Albuquerque, NM. Gallup NM. Ganado, AZ. Boston, MA. Providence, RI.

In Portland, Oregon on April 30, 2012, the investigators got their man.

Three days after arresting Thompson, Gardner and Caruso were wedged in next to him on a commercial flight back to Ohio. The two were passing the time trying to figure out a crossword puzzle in the back of the in-flight magazine when Caruso came across a clue that seemed particularly timely. Nudging his colleague, he turned to Thompson.

"Hey Bobby," Caruso asked his prisoner. "What's another name for 'swindlers'?"

It is only through intensive investigative reporting by the St. Petersburg Times' (now Tampa Bay Times) on this fugitive, and the superior work by the former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray and the Ohio U. S. Marshal's investigative team that followed, was this arrest brought to successful conclusion.

To these people, we extend our gratitude.

We owe many thanks to those who seek out the truth and report it, and for the bravery of those who risk their safety to guard and defend that truth.

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