CLEVELAND - Investigators found nearly $1 million in a storage unit used by the man accused of conning Ohioans out of millions for a fake charity.
Earlier this week, U.S. Marshals arrested the man known as Bobby Thompson in Portland, Ore. He is currently in federal custody after two years on the run and is awaiting an identity hearing.
Thompson, which Marshals said is an alias, founded a fake charity called the United States Navy Veterans Association. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Thompson used the bogus group to collect nearly $2 million from Ohioans and millions more from victims in 40 other states. According to authorities, the United States Navy Veterans Association solicited funds over the phone.
DeWine said federal agents found more than $981,650 in one of two suitcases inside a storage closet. The other suitcase was filled with birth certificates.
"We knew he stole a tremendous amount of money from people he scammed across the country, but it was surprising to find the amount we did today," DeWine said, in a news release on Wednesday. "This is certainly more than we expected to recover and will eventually help with victim restitution."
Thompson was indicted in Cuyahoga County in 2010 on 22 counts, including theft, money laundering and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. His criminal acts in the state last from 2005 to 2010, DeWine said.
Thompson was one of “America’s Most Wanted.” U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said called Thompson’s arrested “one of the most challenging fugitive investigations to date.”
“I am proud of our agents who worked hard to track Thompson down,” Elliott said. “What they uncovered today is truly remarkable.”
Thompson’s associate, Blanca Contreras, was sentenced to five years in prison last year. She pleaded guilty to money laundering and tampering with records as well as other charges.
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