Man sentenced to 28 years in Ohio veterans charity fraud case

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A man convicted of running a fake charity for U.S. Navy veterans, that raised nearly $100 million from donors in 40 states, was sentenced to 28 years in prison on Monday by an Ohio judge.

John Donald Cody, 67, known by his alias Bobby Thompson, was convicted by a Cuyahoga County jury in November on 23 counts, including identity fraud and using a false name in a scam.

Cuyahoga County Judge Steven Gall also fined Cody more than $6 million.

Cody's attorneys have said they will appeal the verdict.

Prosecutors said Cody ran the U.S. Navy Veterans Association (USNVA), a bogus charity headquartered in Tampa, Florida.

Authorities charged him as Thompson, but later said he was Cody, a Harvard-trained lawyer and former member of the U.S. Army's military intelligence unit.

Cody is a cold-case fugitive wanted by federal authorities since 1987 on accusations of embezzling from an estate, authorities have said. He also appeared on a Federal Bureau of Investigation 'Wanted' poster for espionage, but the FBI declined to discuss that case.

(Editing by David Bailey and Bernadette Baum)