CLEVELAND, Ohio (WTVN) -- A man convicted of scamming people in Ohio and 40 other states out of more than $100 million in a fake Navy veterans charity will spend 28-years in prison.
Judge Steven Gall imposed the sentence on John Donald Cody, a man who identifies himself as 67-year-old Bobby Thompson.
The Ohio attorney general's office, which handled his trial, asked the judge in a filing last week to sentence him to 41 years in prison. In addition, the prosecution recommended a $6.3 million fine. Judge Steven Gall fined him $6 million.
"Bobby Thompson fooled a lot of people," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
The defense has asked for a new trial.
Defense attorney Joseph Patituce said after the verdict that ineffective legal representation issues stemming from limited preparation time and his client's erratic cooperation might be a basis for an appeal.
The defense hinted at a CIA covert operation and showed jurors photos of the defendant with President George W. Bush, suggesting Thompson was acting with government sanction.
Thompson was convicted Nov. 14 of racketeering, theft, money laundering and 12 counts of identity theft. The prosecutor showed jurors identification cards with the defendant's photo but different names and issued by government agencies and companies in numerous states.
Thompson sat upright, taking notes during much of his trial but turned unpredictable in the final few days, appearing in court with his shirt unbuttoned to his waist and uncombed hair hanging down his face.
The judge, who expressed irritation with Thompson over his appearance, issued an order that Thompson be "dressed, groomed and showered" by 8 a.m. on trial days and directed deputies to bring him to court "by any means necessary."
DeWine says while Cody defrauded people in 40 other states, Ohio is the only one to pursue criminal charges.
Of the $100 million that was defrauded, only a suitcase with about $980,000 inside was recovered. DeWine says they'll continue to try and find money to forward to real veterans charities.
"We are not optimistic because we've already frankly done that. We've already looked in other states and looked for other bank accounts," he said.
DeWine's office plans to ask the judge to assign $330,778 of the seized money to cover investigation and trial costs. The office also wants $650,871.30 for a default judgment order, with the money going to veterans charities.
The onetime fugitive signaled he would testify at trial but changed his mind.
Records show the defendant had showered politicians, often Republicans, with political donations.
Politicians who received donations from him, according to campaign finance filings, include Bush and former presidential contenders Mitt Romney, John McCain and Rudolph Giuliani.
"The majority of this money was received in a telemarketing scheme where Ohioans would donate $15, $20, $25, $30 over the telephone," said DeWine who estimates Ohioans alone were scammed out of more than $2 million.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)