'America's Most Wanted' scam artist arrested
Tue, 01 May 2012 17:30:49 GMT —
Late Monday night, the United States Marshals Service captured a fugitive once featured on "America's Most Wanted."
Under the alias "Bobby Thompson," the fugitive allegedly stole millions of dollars in donations meant for U.S. veterans. He was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, identity theft, fraud and money laundering.
"We are relieved Bobby Thompson is now in federal custody after a nationwide manhunt and years of work within the Attorney Generalâ??s Office to track him down," Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. "We believe he stole between $1.5 million and $2 million which came from generous people in our state who thought they were helping U.S. Navy veterans."
Thompson founded the U.S. Navy Veterans Association (USNVA) charity in the early 2000s. The organization claimed its mission was to provide assistance to veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces. From its founding year until 2010, USNVA received around $100 million dollars. Investigators believe little, if any, of the money actually benefitted veterans or current service members.
Thompson was charged in Ohio with various offenses related to this fraudulent activity in 2010. He spent two years on the run, assuming fictitious names and even altering his appearance.
On Monday, a team of Depty U.S. Marshal and officers from Ohio travelled to Portland, Oregon, to apprehend the fugitive. Upon arrest, Thompson refused to make any statements.
Investigators are still unsure of the true identity of Thompson. He was transported to the Multnomah County Jail, where he will await extradition to Northern Ohio.
"This was one of our most challenging fugitive investigations to date. Our investigators followed up leads all over the nation. Their diligence and dedication directly led to the arrest in Portland. I am proud of everyone that worked on this investigation and their efforts have brought this scam artist to justice." U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said.