COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced that his office has awarded a $50,000 grant to the Ohio Military Veterans Legal Assistance Project (OMVLAP). The grant funds are being awarded in part from funds seized from the former veterans’ charity scam artist known as Bobby Thompson.
“These funds were originally given by generous donors who thought their contributions were going to help our veterans, but most of the money went to line the pockets of a con artist,” said Attorney General DeWine. “As a result of the legal process that convicted Bobby Thompson, my office received some of the remaining funds with the provision that they assist veterans. This grant to the Ohio Military Veterans Legal Assistance Project will ensure the donations serve their original purpose by helping veterans.”
OMVLAP arranges legal services for low-income Ohio military veterans and active service members who cannot afford an attorney. OMVLAP maintains a network of Ohio lawyers who provide legal services pro bono or at a substantially reduced fee.
Thompson, also known as John Donald Cody, ran a scam charity called the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, which solicited funds nationwide but allowed Thompson to pocket as much as $2 million in proceeds. A fugitive of the law, he was arrested in 2012 in Portland, Ore. He was convicted in 2013 on 23 charges and sentenced to 28 years in prison. Money seized during Thompson’s arrest was awarded to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for distribution to legitimate veterans charities.