Major GOP donor arrested in $100 million veteran charity scam
The U.S. Marshal Service announced Tuesday that it had captured one of America‚Äôs Most Wanted fugitives who is accused of creating a fake charity for Navy veterans that funneled some of the $100 million collected to Republican candidates.
Between the early 2000s and 2010, a man using the alias ‚ÄúBobby Thompson‚ÄĚ collected millions from unsuspecting donors for the charity U.S. Navy Veterans Association (USNVA), which claimed to provide support for members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Officials believe that very little, if any, of the money was ever used as intended, according to the U.S. Marshal Service.
To help legitimize his charity, Thompson allegedly donated part of the ill-gotten funds to Republican candidates like former President George W. Bush, former Republican presidential candidate John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner.
Republican Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli reportedly personally pleaded with Thompson for donations and received $55,000 for his effort, making Thompson Cuccinelli‚Äôs second-largest donor. Cuccinelli was eventually forced to turn over the tainted money to veterans support groups.
Over the years, Thompson also attended the 2008 Republican National Convention and numerous fundraisers. The Roanoke Timesobtained photos of Thompson posing with Bush, Boehner and McCain ‚ÄĒ as well as Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL), former Bush adviser Karl Rove and former Republican New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Thompson fled in 2010 after learning of a criminal investigation in several states. He was later charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, identity theft, fraud and money laundering.
A team of Deputy U.S. Marshals captured the fugitive in Portland, Oregon at approximately 10:30 p.m. Monday night. Authorities were still unaware of Thompson‚Äôs real name and he refused to make a statement.
‚ÄúThis was one of our most challenging fugitive investigations to date,‚ÄĚ U.S. Marshal Pete Elliottsaid in a press advisory. ‚ÄúOur investigators followed up leads all over the nation. Their diligence and dedication directly led to the arrest in Portland. I am proud of everyone that worked on this investigation and their efforts have brought this scam artist to justice.‚ÄĚ
Thompson is now being held in Multnomah County Jail while he waits to be extradited to Northern Ohio.
Watch the video below from WPRI, broadcast May, 2, 2012.