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Man who ran fake veterans charity sentenced in 28 years in prison

CLEVELAND, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- A man who collected $100 million in donations to a fake charity for navy veterans was sentenced Monday in an Ohio court to 28 years in prison, officials said.

John Donald Cody, 67, who used the name Cmdr. Bobby Thompson to operate the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, also was fined more than $6 million, ABC News reported.

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Cody, who prosecutors said preyed on the public's sympathies for veterans, was convicted of theft, fraud, money laundering and the use of false identities in a trial that lasted a month.

He has never revealed what he did with the millions he raised through the fake charity over the years.

Investigators said there was little evidence that donations were used to help veterans and that Cody used money from the so-called charity to donate heavily to the Republican Party.

Cody was a fugitive for two years after his fraud was exposed. He was arrested in Oregon but initially refused to confirm his true identity. He signed his name as "Mr. X" when booked into a Cleveland jail.

Cody did not testify in his trial and his attorney offered no defense. Cody has indicated he will appeal his conviction.

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