John Donald Cody, man accused in $100M Navy charity scam, headed to trial

John Donald Cody, who calls himself Bobby Thompson, appears at a hearing in Cuyahoga County Court in Cleveland, May 8, 2012.
AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File
(CBS/AP) CLEVELAND - John Donald Cody, a one-time fugitive who calls himself Bobby Thompson, is headed to trial Monday on charges of masterminding a $100 million multi-state fraud under the guise of helping Navy veterans.

Cody, a 67-year-old Harvard-trained lawyer and former military intelligence officer, was arrested last year in Portland, Ore., after two years on the run.

He's charged with defrauding people who donated to a reputed charity for Navy veterans, the United States Navy Veterans Association based in Tampa, Fla.

The alleged fraud spanned 41 states, including up to $2 million in Ohio. Authorities said little, if any, of the money collected by the charity was used to benefit veterans.

The defendant showered politicians, many of them Republicans, with political donations. His defense team had sought to force testimony by recipients to show his actions were legal, but a judge rejected the move last week.

His attorney said any fraud involved solicitors, not his client.

Authorities said the defendant used his VIP political connections to encourage donors to give to his charity.

While on the run, investigators tracked him through Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington and West Virginia.

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