Honor Flight recovers funds from $900,000 charity scam

The Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio was awarded $10,000 grant. / WNWO archive

As law enforcement officials tackle a large-scale fundraising scam, recovered donations could help many northwest Ohio veterans get the chance to see memorials built in their honor.

The Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio was awarded $10,000 yesterday from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. The funds are part of more than $70,000 recovered from a fraudulent charity scam that was supposed to benefit veterans. The remaining $60,000 is to be divided up among veterans charities around the state.

"As we take time this week to honor the men and women who have served in our armed forces, I am pleased that we were able to recover donations originally intended to help veterans and direct them to charities like Honor Flight, which helps veterans travel to our nation's capital," DeWine said in a statement.

The Blade reports about $900,000 in total was donated to the U.S. Navy Veterans Association scam. The organization's treasurer, Blanca Contreras, was sentenced in August to five years in prison for theft, money laundering, tampering with records, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. Investigators are currently seeking the operation's leader, a man who goes by the alias Bobby Thompson.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the man known as Bobby Thompson is encouraged to contact BCI at 800-282-3784.