"Wanted for Fraud and Questioning in Connection With an Ongoing FBI Espionage Investigation"---FBI Wanted poster.
The Tampa Bay Times has posted a new article about the notorious accused fraud John Cody AKA Bobby Thompson: "John Cody? Navy Veterans scam's Bobby Thompson? Jailed fugitive remains a mystery" (10-12-12).
Please see my previous post about the identification of Cody and the fantastic series of articles formerly published by the St. Petersburg Times called Under the Radar as well as the more recent series of articles published by the Tampa Bay Times after a change of ownership. I have been following this story since about 2010. Soon, everyone may be asking why an accused criminal wanted for fraud and for questioning in an ongoing espionage investigation gave Virginia's Attorney General Cuccinelli over 55,000 dollars.
Dan Casey, the Metro Columnist for the Roanoke Times (5-6-12) asks:
What, if anything, did Thompson tell Cuccinelli he wanted during the phone call that resulted in the $50,000 donation?
The Tampa Bay Times (10-12-12) reports:
Sought by the FBI for stealing and suspected espionage, Cody became a phantom who eluded capture for nearly three decades.
On Oct. 1, almost 30 years after he went missing, federal officials announced they'd finally caught their man. Now 65, he is sitting in a jail cell in Cleveland, charged with running a charity scam in Tampa under the alias Bobby Thompson.
As Cody awaits trial, authorities aren't commenting on the espionage charge or what else Cody might have been doing during those years on the run. No one yet knows whether he was a con man or a spook, or both.
Here's what is known: In the Army he was in military intelligence. In Arizona, he was a man of mystery before disappearing with clients' cash. In Tampa, he ran a veterans' charity charged with bilking donors out of nearly $100 million...
Raised Catholic, Cody was a star debater at Steinert High School in Trenton's suburbs. The profile under his 1965 yearbook photo could describe any young American male of the era. He liked pizza and apple pie, "but not together;" football and fast cars, especially "a certain white Chevy II."
Cody went on to the University of Virginia, where he graduated with high honors in 1969. That year he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, but active service was deferred until he completed Harvard Law School in 1972.
Cody reportedly served in Washington, D.C., Hawaii and the Philippines before being discharged as a captain. In 1979, Cody got a master's degree in management at the Asian Institute of Management in Manila.
By mid 1980, Cody showed up in Sierra Vista, Ariz., ready to launch a law practice. He told people he'd spent time at nearby Fort Huachuca while on active duty. The base, 15 miles north of the Mexican border, is the hub of Army military intelligence.
Brandishing his Harvard degree — believed to be the first lawyer in the county with one — Cody quickly picked up business. He was assigned criminal cases by the court, but also handled divorces, wills and contract disputes. Cody may have had the only law office in town with Playboy magazines in the waiting room.
Cody stood out in other ways as well. He claimed his tear ducts were damaged in the military by radiation. So mid conversation or court presentation, without missing a beat, he'd squirt drops in his eyes until it looked like he was crying. Then he'd pull out a tin of petroleum jelly and rub it on his face.
When the skin around his eyes flaked due to the constant irritation, he'd pick it off as colleagues watched in amazement and disgust.
Cody's hair was an orangey-brown pompadour that everybody swore was a wig. His clothes were throw-backs to the 70s, wide-legged bell bottoms and wild ties in a town where Bolo ties were the norm...
Dennis Lusk, a prosecutor who routinely butted heads with Cody, said, "He just blatantly lied so much in court about things he claimed I said that I put him on a writing-only basis." Lusk said he still has a two-inch thick binder of Cody's correspondence.
"I remember him saying it would be good background in case one day either of us achieved notoriety."
Animosity in the courthouse didn't keep Cody from winning some high-profile cases. He got a woman acquitted on self-defense after she shot her boyfriend in the face while he was eating cereal. Another client was found innocent by reason of insanity after stabbing a man 23 times.
"Sometimes he was absolutely brilliant," said Margaret Chapman, Cody's legal assistant. "But sometimes he was just crazy."
Chapman, who worked for Cody for about a year, said he used a tape recorder from home to dictate late-night memos, spinning conspiracy theories and threatening to shoot methamphetamine into the county attorney's brain. As time went on, he became increasingly manic, sleeping little and missing court dates. He'd lock himself in his office, Chapman said, emerging with white powder on his nose.
Chapman became suspicious when Cody had her make several $5,000 withdrawals from his accounts, all in $20 bills. When he asked her if she knew anyone who made fake IDs, Chapman decided it was time to leave. A few months later Cody told his new assistant he had an emergency meeting in Tucson. His orange Corvette, painted blue, was found weeks later at the Phoenix airport with the keys in the ignition.
Cody was gone.
Shortly after his disappearance, Cochise County officials charged Cody with stealing about $100,000 from clients' accounts. But many townspeople doubted that was enough to make him abandon a seemingly successful practice.
There was talk he had been targeted by drug lords or the mob. Others, who'd heard hints of his past in military intelligence, wondered if it might have been something else.
Teri Sorisso may have been Cody's only friend and sole defender in Sierra Vista. A few weeks before he disappeared, the two were at the Sorry Gulch Saloon when he gave her a cryptic warning.
"He said he was investigating the drug trade and corruption involving officials in town and if things went bad, he'd have to leave without warning," Sorisso said. "He wouldn't tell me where he was going because he didn't want me implicated in any way."
Her suspicions increased when she went to the auction of Cody's possessions months after he fled. She'd never been in his shabby, one-room efficiency and was shocked to find it packed with books in five languages, including German, Russian and Tagalog, the language spoken in the Philippines.
"I thought, 'Holy crap, who is this guy?'" Sorisso said. "I thought maybe he'd been a spy."
A federal indictment issued in May 1987 did not end the speculation. The official charges were fairly mundane. In addition to taking money from clients' probate accounts, Cody allegedly tried to open brokerage accounts and get loans in Virginia using two aliases. He also claimed $195,000 in income from two nonexistent companies, one in Kuwait, the other in Mexico.
Then came the kicker: The FBI also wanted Cody for questioning regarding "an ongoing FBI espionage investigation."
No further details were given at the time and the FBI has been unwilling to elaborate since his arrest. [Read the entire article.]