Top fugitive suspected of ripping off millions in a phony Navy charity busted by federal marshals

National manhunt lands fake charity chief

CLEVELAND - One of the nation's most elusive fugitives suspected of ripping off millions in a phony charity scheme targeting Navy veterans has been captured.

U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said "Bobby Thompson," an alias, used numerous phony IDs to escape capture for at least two years.

Thompson is  accused of stealing millions of dollars in donations he claimed would go to Navy veterans through a charity he operated, known as the U.S. Navy Veterans Association.

A team of U.S. Deputy Marshals and Task Force officers from the Northern District of Ohio traveled to Portland, Ore., where Thompson was arrested Monday night.

Elliott called it "one of the most challenging fugitive investigations to date" and said his agents followed Thompson across the country for months.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said his office has been investigating Thompson for "ripping off" consumers who donated to a charity they believed was helping veterans.

Agents with The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification, operated by the Attorney General's Office, is now in Oregon searching for more additional evidence - -including where Thompson may have hidden millions of dollars he raised through donations.

DeWine said his office believes between $1.5 million and $2 million was raised in Ohio alone and suspects that figure could be much higher when 41 others states that Thompson raised donations in is finally accounted for.

Thompson is charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, identify theft, fraud and money laundering.

A co-conspirator of Thompson's is currently serving a 5-year prison sentence in Ohio after pleading guilty last August for her role in the scam.

Print this article Back to Top