Saturday, October 06, 2012

October Surprise for Ken Cuccinelli: Bobby Thompson's Identity Revealed!

"The U.S. Attorney's Office in Northern Ohio is currently working with their sister office in Eastern Virginia [the "Rocket Docket] regarding Cody's 25-year-old charges.

'Is this the end of the mystery? I think so,' [U.S. Marshall Peter] Elliot said. 'Let's see if there's more to come.'"----The Cleveland Plain Dealer (10-1-12)

The FBI (10-1-12) has posted this brief press release:

Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge for the FBI’s Northern District of Ohio Office, and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, are pleased to recognize the United States Marshals Service for their successful efforts in apprehending John Donald Cody, also known as Bobby Thompson.

The FBI commends the U.S. Marshals Service for their unrelenting determination that led to the apprehension of Mr. Cody. The FBI worked with the U.S. Marshals Service in determining Mr. Cody’s ultimate identity.

The FBI will not be making any additional comments at this time and appreciates your understanding.

The U.S. Marshalls Service (10-1-12) issued this press release:

On May 1, U.S. Marshals announced the arrest of one of Americas Most Wanted and elusive fugitives, known and charged in Ohio under the alias “Bobby Thompson.”
“Bobby Thompson” has been accused of stealing millions of dollars donated for the sole purpose of aiding U.S. veterans. “Bobby Thompson,” which was an alias, was on the run for more than two years in which he assumed numerous fictitious names and was known to alter his appearance. He was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, identity theft, fraud and money laundering.
On April 30, he was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Portland, Ore., and brought back to Ohio to face the charges. At the time of arrest, authorities also seized nearly $1 million that “Thompson” had locked in a storage locker. “Thompson” has been detained in the Cuyahoga County Jail awaiting trial.
Today, U.S. Marshals, with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, positively identified “Bobby Thompson” as cold case fugitive John Donald Cody.
Cody, 65, has been wanted by the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Marshals since 1987 for numerous fraudulent charges. Cody is also wanted for questioning by the FBI in connection to an ongoing espionage investigation.
U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott was so intrigued with this investigation and the fact that “Thompson” continued to hide his true identity that he began to search through the internet attempting to identify him.
Marshal Elliott conducted Google searches for cold case fraud fugitives with ties to military. In doing so, he came upon an FBI wanted flyer for a cold case fraud fugitive wanted since 1987. Upon looking at the dated picture, the man immediately had a noticeable likeness to “Thompson.” Upon reading the history of the case and particulars of the fugitive, things really matched up well with “Thompson.” The fugitive was John Donald Cody and after receiving a copy of his fingerprints from the FBI, they were a confirmed match with the fingerprints from the Cuyahoga County Jail of “Thompson.”
The federal warrant for Cody is from May 4, 1987, out of the Eastern District of Virginia charging him with interstate transportation of fraudulent traveler’s checks from probate estates’ bank accounts, false statements to an investment brokerage firm, and false statements on loan applications. Cody is also wanted by the FBI for questioning in connection to an ongoing espionage investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Northern Ohio is currently communicating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Eastern Virginia regarding these charges and to determine the next steps now that Cody has been positively identified and in custody at the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office.

The Ohio Attorney General's office has issued this statement (10-1-12) about the identification of the accused con-artist known as "Bobby Thompson":

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine issued the following statement today after the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Marshals revealed John Donald Cody as the true identity of 'Bobby Thompson,' the mastermind of the alleged charity scam U.S. Navy Veterans Association.

"For years this suspect hid from the truth, but today, the truth has caught up with him," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.  "John Cody can no longer conceal his identity under the alias 'Bobby Thompson.'"

Federal authorities announced this morning that fingerprint analysis revealed Cody had been wanted by the FBI for fraud since 1987.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office has spent years investigating Cody, who is believed to have collected nearly $2 million of Ohioans' money and tens of millions from residents in 40 other states who thought they were donating to military veterans.

John Cody AKA 'Bobby Thompson' is currently in custody in Cleveland, awaiting trial on charges including money laundering and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.  The Ohio Attorney General's Office is prosecuting the case.

Here is John Donald Cody's FBI poster and an article by ABC's The Blotter (October 1, 2012).

The Tampa Bay Times (10-2-12), which has covered the Bobby Thompson case for years, reports:

[F]or all his sterling credentials, colleagues at the courthouse found Cody to be more than a little strange. He wore outdated bell bottoms and his hair in a pompadour that everyone swore was a wig.

He would spout wild conspiracy theories and once accused county prosecutors of wanting to kill him.

He would bring a big jar of Vaseline into the courtroom, then slather it on his face during presentations.

Margaret Chapman went to work for Cody as a legal assistant in 1982, soon after he started his general law practice in Sierra Vista.

She never saw a Harvard Law diploma on his wall. And the military ID photo he showed her looked a lot like a photo in his high school yearbook.

"He was incredibly smart and fun to talk to," said Chapman, who now lives in California. "But he was just a nut job."

Cody would dictate letters in the middle of the night, telling how he planned to inject methamphetamine in the county attorney's brain. He started sending Chapman to withdraw $5,000 at a time from his bank, in $20 bills.

"That was a lot of money back then," Chapman said. He would lock himself in his office and emerge with white dust on the tip of his nose, she said. Then, out of the blue one day, Cody asked Chapman if she knew anyone who made fake IDs.  [See also the famous Tampa Bay Times investigative series about Thompson called Under the Radar.]

The Arizona Republic carries a colorful 2002 article titled "Oddball Lawyer Missing 18 Years" (5-19-2002) which reports that the US Marshalls from Alexandria, Virginia, are on John Cody's trail. Fox News (1-6-09) has another colorful story about the bizarre John Cody that dates from 2009.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (10-1-12) reports:

After Googling terms like "missing vets" and "major fraud fugitives," [U.S. Marshall Peter] Elliot came across a decades-old FBI poster of Cody, who has been wanted since 1987 on IRS fraud charges and connection to an espionage investigation.

Elliot recognized the distinct coiffure that dangled to Cody's brow in the FBI photo and another found during his search.

The hairdos resembled the one currently worn by "Thompson."

More links between Cody and "Thompson" quickly cemented.

The FBI poster indicated that Cody did not have tear ducts and constantly used eye drops. It also mentioned that he practiced law in Sierra Vista, Ariz.

When marshals arrested "Thompson," two bottles of eye drops were confiscated along with multiple fake Arizona IDs.

Most importantly, the poster said that Cody performed military intelligence duties as a captain in the Army.

Elliot requested a copy of the veteran's military fingerprints from the U.S. Department of State and compared them with those taken from "Thompson" after his arrest.

They matched.

Elliot would not comment on Cody's reaction to the discovery.

Marshals previously were unable to match their "Thompson" prints with any found in local and national databases because Cody had not been arrested on his 1987 indictment.

In fact, the former fugitive vanished from Arizona in 1984 and the initial case eventually went cold.

"That's the kind of guy we love to catch, guys that sign their name 'Mr. X' and challenge us," Elliot said.

Authorities say they now have a better understanding of the man accused of using a fake charity, the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, to swindle more than $100 million from contributors nationwide between 2002 and 2010.

Cody, who initially requested to represent himself in court, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1972. He speaks multiple languages and has used more than a dozen aliases.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Northern Ohio is currently working with their sister office in Eastern Virginia regarding Cody's 25-year-old charges.

"Is this the end of the mystery? I think so," Elliot said. "Let's see if there's more to come."

CBS News (10-3-12) has a video that features U.S.Marshall Peter Elliott, and some analysis by a former FBI Deputy Director named John Miller, who observes:

"[John Cody] apparently tried to make contact with or made contact with a hostile foreign power or an intelligence officer, and because of his former secret clearances, the fact he was a reservist in intelligence that's what he was saying...they wanted to know, 'Why are you talking to these people?' And that is something that now that they have him, they will focus on."

Soon, everyone may be asking why an accused criminal wanted for questioning in an 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?

Did a Richmond insider give Thompson specific advice on where to pass his money around so he could get his bill through the General Assembly?...

I...put the question to Cuccinelli. "Attorney General Cuccinelli never advised or recommended 'Bobby Thompson' to do anything to try to get any law passed," said his spokesman Brian Gottstein.

You can bet that federal agents on this case will be asking Thompson if anyone did give him such advice, just for starters....

Looks like John Cody AKA "Bobby Thompson" really screwed the Cooch on this one!


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