CLEVELAND - The unidentified suspect known as “Bobby Thompson” will be representing himself in court. Thompson is charged with theft, fraud, identity theft and money laundering. He was in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Tuesday morning where a judge decided he'd be held without bond.
But Thompson also requested to be his own attorney, and will be co-counseled by attorney Mark Stanton.
He pleaded not guilty too 22 charges.
The Ohio Attorney General’s office is prosecuting the case and it wants Thompson’s multiple pictures to get out there.
Authorities are still trying to figure out Thompson’s real name. U.S. Marshals arrested him in Portland, Ore. last week after several years on the run.
From 2003 to 2010, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office said Thompson collected about $2 million from Ohioans for a fake charity. The United States Navy Veterans Association also solicited millions more from victims in 40 other states.
"There is documentation that indicates it could be up to, in the area of, $100 million," said Brad Tamarro, a special prosecutor handling the case for the AG's office.
According to U.S. Marshals, Thompson refused to tell authorities his real name and searches of fingerprint databases turned up negative results. On booking sheets, Thompson signed by simply writing “X.” He is also known for changing his appearance.
While searching a storage facility rented under one of Thompson’s many fake names, agents found a suitcase full of birth certificates and another with nearly $1 million, Marshals said. When he was arrested, he had several IDs from the United States and Canada with him.
On Tuesday, forensic scientists at a BCI lab in Richfield began examining evidence. They will search for fingerprints on the money and other items.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said he hopes the money recovered can be given to a real veteran's group.
"This was a despicable scheme," DeWine said.
Marshals said someone knows the true identity of Thompson. Anyone with information should called 1-866-4-WANTED, or text “WANTED” to 847411. Tips can remain anonymous and there may be a cash reward.
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