COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that his office has awarded a total of $971,000 in grants to Ohio veterans’ organizations. The grants are funded by assets seized from the former veterans’ charity scam artist known as Bobby Thompson.
The list of grant recipients is available.
“We worked hard to ensure this money would be used as originally intended — to help veterans,” DeWine said. “The con artist who took this money lied to people about how it would be used. Now that con artist is in prison, and the contributions of well-meaning donors are going to help men and women who served our country. It was a terrible scam, but something good has come out of it.”
Through the grants, each of Ohio’s five Honor Flight hubs will receive funding. Honor Flight helps veterans safely travel to their respective memorials in Washington D.C. The following organizations will receive a grant of $115,000 each: Flag City Honor Flight (Findlay); Honor Flight Cleveland; Honor Flight Columbus; Honor Flight Dayton and Honor Flight Tri-State (Cincinnati).
Additionally, Operation Legal Help Ohio will receive $100,000 to support its mission of connecting low-income Ohio veterans to free legal help. The group also will receive $150,000 to support Ohio’s 20 veterans’ courts, funding transportation costs for veterans traveling to required appointments.
A $100,000 grant will be used by Family and Community Services to fund repairs and appliances for a facility in Lorain that will provide housing for female veterans and their children. The facility will be called the Liberty House for Female Veterans and Families.
The Ross County Veterans Council will receive $36,000 to help create a healing garden for veterans and their families at the Chillicothe VA Medical Center, and Toledo-based Heroes in Action, which supports service members and veterans throughout Ohio, will receive $10,000.
“Bobby Thompson,” or John Donald Cody, ran a scam charity called the US Navy Veterans Association, collecting millions of dollars from donors nationwide. A fugitive of the law, he was arrested in 2012, and in 2013, he was convicted 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.
Attorneys with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the Bobby Thompson case. The Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section and Bureau of Criminal Investigation pursued the case for years.