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Why does a scam artist with multiple identities want to subpoena John Boehner in a fraud case in Ohio that involves a prominent charity for Army veterans and a suitcase full of cash? 

Meet Bobby Thompson, a scam artist accused of defrauding people out of more than a $100 million that they thought was being donated to a fake charity, the United States Navy Veterans Association. Authorities have also Thompson identified as Harvard-trained lawyer and former military intelligence officer John Donald Cody. Investigations into the charity by the St. Petersburg Times in 2010 revealed that it was nothing more than an elaborate lie. Thompson was arrested in May 2012, finally, after this slight hiccup in the investigation

[Thompson] disappeared for almost two years after his 2010 indictment on theft, money laundering and other charges tied to his Tampa, Fla.-based charity. He was tracked and arrested last year in Portland, Ore., where agents and deputy marshals found him with fake IDs and a suitcase containing $980,000 in cash.

Thompson's trial starts on Monday in Cleveland, and the defense has subpoenaed Boehner and two former Ohio attorney generals, Jim Petro and Betty Montgomery. Why, you ask? Because the defense wants to show that, despite his other faults, Thompson's multiple donations to prominent Republicans were all legal. Other Republican names you may recognize that received donations from this guy: 

  • Former President George W. Bush
  • Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney
  • Former Republican presidential nominee John McCain
  • Former Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani.

That's a whole lot of prominent Republicans. But Boehner doesn't have anything to fear as long as Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is here. DeWine, who led the investigation into Thompson's fraudulent activity, wants to make sure the subpoenas go away because they aren't instrumental to the case against Thompson. He described Thompson's political generosity as "kind of a sidebar to the scam" that's "not really an essential part of proving the elements of the crime of him taking this money." The donations are at least somewhat relevant, though, because DeWine said he believes Thompson used photos of himself standing next to all those important political big shots to solicit money for his fake charity. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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