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DeWine awards grants to Ohio veterans organizations

(November 9, 2017) — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office is awarding $971,000 in grants to Ohio veterans’ organizations.

The money is being funded by assets seized from Bobby Thompson, the man convicted of collecting up to $100 million nationwide for the fraudulent, Florida-based charity United States Navy Veterans Association. Thompson’s real name is John Donald Cody.

“We worked hard to ensure this money would be used as originally intended — to help veterans,” DeWine said in a statement.

Thompson was indicted in Ohio in 2010, but disappeared for almost two years before being arrested in Portland, Ore., in 2012. He was convicted of racketeering, theft, money laundering and 12 counts of identity theft. A Cuyahoga County judge sentenced him to 28 years in prison.

“It was a terrible scam, but something good has come out of it,” DeWine said.

Each of Ohio’s five Honor Flight hubs will receive a grant of $115,000 each. Honor Flight helps veterans travel to memorials in Washington D.C.

Operation Legal Help Ohio will receive $100,000 to support its mission of helping low-income Ohio veterans receive free legal help. The group will also will receive $150,000 to aid Ohio’s 20 veterans’ courts and fund transportation costs for veterans traveling to appointments.

A $100,000 grant will be used by Family and Community Services for a facility in Lorain to provide housing for female veterans and their children.

The Ross County Veterans Council will receive $36,000 to help build a healing garden for veterans and their families at the Chillicothe VA Medical Center, and Heroes in Action will receive another $10,000.

Attorneys with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the Thompson case and money seized during his arrest was awarded to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for distribution to legitimate veterans charities.

Megan Henry is a fellow in the E.W. Scripps Statehouse News Bureau.