State Moves to Shut Down “Sham Charity”

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray is seeking emergency court orders to prevent Ohioans' contributions from being collected by a Florida-based "veterans" charity being investigated by several states. He also noted troubling revelations that the man who appears to have orchestrated this sham charity made hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions to candidates throughout the United States and in Ohio.

Applications for a temporary restraining order against the U.S. Navy Veterans Association and its officers were filed yesterday in Hamilton and Fairfield counties. They target UPS mail drops rented by the U. S. Navy Veterans Association (USNVA) in those counties. The Attorney General is seeking permission to hold contributions that arrive while the investigation continues.

On May 28, Cordray ordered the USNVA to stop contacting Ohio residents for contributions after determining that the group's registration documents were plagued with irregularities. Those documents contain false and misleading information, including the names of association officers who appear to be fictional.

"Our investigators have not been able to locate any of the Ohio officers of the USNVA, although, oddly enough, the organization's national counsel is based here," Cordray said. "Through the counsel, USNVA has advised us that it does not consider the order to be valid and that it does not have to comply with our order to cease and desist fundraising in Ohio.

"The closer we look at this organization, the more outrageous its conduct appears. Since 2003, Ohioans have contributed close to $1.9 million to the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. However, the evidence is mounting that the operation is misrepresenting its mission. It is trading on the good name of our armed forces and patriotic Americans to solicit funds that it says will be used to assist veterans directly. Instead, it appears the funds are going to political campaigns. That is fraudulent and deceptive.

"As more information emerges about this group and Bobby Thompson, the individual connected with it, the more troubled I am. No one can locate Thompson now—he has disappeared. This is extremely questionable behavior on behalf of a man who had access to millions of dollars raised in the name of Navy veterans. While very little concrete evidence is available how those funds were spent helping vets or their families, a great deal of information is available about political contributions made by Thompson personally to candidates or through the political action committee he created and to which he was the sole contributor, NAVPAC.

"Spread the word. Tell your friends and family. We want all Ohioans to know not to contribute to the U.S. Navy Veterans Association."

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