Former friend reveals details about the past of accused con man 'Bobby Thompson'

CLEVELAND - NewsChannel5's investigators have uncovered new details about the past of the man known as "Bobby Thompson."

U.S. Marshals revealed Monday that the accused con man is actually wanted fugitive John Donald Cody.

Cody, a Harvard Law graduate, was a practicing attorney in Sierra Vista, Arizona in the early 1980's.

His former friend, Jim Kerley, said he remembers Cody as an incredibly charismatic and enthusiastic attorney. 

Kerley said he is not surprised Cody managed to elude authorities for years and is accused of concocting a multi-million dollar scam because he was also very intelligent.

Ohio prosecutors say Cody bilked Americans in 41 states out of as much as $100 million through his bogus charity, the U.S. Navy Veteran's Association.

Cody had been wanted by the FBI since 1987. He was indicted on fraud charges stemming from his activities in Arizona. He was also wanted for questioning related to an espionage investigation.

Cody disappeared in 1984 after taking $100,000 of his clients' cash. Kerley said he was shocked when Cody took off with the money.  He said there were no signs his friend was up to no good.

Kerley said Cody had told his secretary he would be gone a few days. Kerley says he never heard from Cody or saw him again.

U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott announced "Bobby Thompson" was Cody during a news conference Monday.

He said Cody's unique pompadour hairstyle helped him unravel the mystery of Thompson's real identity.

After his arrest in May in Oregon, Cody had refused to reveal his real identity and signed legal documents as "Mr. X."

Cody is currently being held in the Cuyahoga County Jail. He's scheduled to go on trial in March 2013 for charges related to his fake charity.

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