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28-year sentence in vet scam

John Donald Cody speaks during his sentencing on racketeering, theft, money laundering charges Monday. Cody, using the stolen identity Bobby Thompson, was sentenced to 28 years in prison for defrauding donors of up to $100 million in 41 states through the United States Navy Veterans Association, a charity he ran in Tampa, Fla. AP photo

John Donald Cody speaks during his sentencing on racketeering, theft, money laundering charges Monday. Cody, using the stolen identity Bobby Thompson, was sentenced to 28 years in prison for defrauding donors of up to $100 million in 41 states through the United States Navy Veterans Association, a charity he ran in Tampa, Fla. AP photo

CLEVELAND — A man convicted of masterminding a $100 million, cross-country Navy veterans charity fraud was sentenced to 28 years in prison Monday.

Judge Steven Gall also ordered the defendant, who identifies himself as 67-year-old Bobby Thompson, to pay a $6 million fine. Authorities say the defendant is Harvard-trained attorney John Donald Cody. The judge rejected a request for a new trial, and said the crimes had harmed veterans who were the intended beneficiaries of the donations and also had hurt other charities as donors became skeptical of giving.

“Everyone’s afraid to give,” Gall said.

Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office had asked that $330,778 of the seized money cover investigation and trial costs, but DeWine said after the sentencing that the money instead would go to reputable veterans charities. The office also wants $650,871.30 for a default judgment order, with the money going to veterans charities, according to Dan Tierney, a DeWine spokesman. An additional $101,000 seized from Thompson has already been distributed by Ohio to veterans charities.

The fraud occurred in 41 states, according to trial testimony, and Ohio took the lead, indicting Thompson in 2010. He was convicted of looting the United States Navy Veterans Association, a charity he ran in Tampa, Fla.

Only a fraction of the $100 million was found.

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