FOR 25 years, Harvard-educated lawyer John Donald Cody was wanted by the FBI for scamming two clients out of $100,000. BUT that didn’t stop him from living the high life in Washington, D.C. – and even having his picture taken with President George W. Bush in the White House – while living under an assumed name and amassing a whopping $100 million in another crooked scheme!
“Can you believe that?” said U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott. “Here’s a guy, a fugitive from justice, wanted by the FBI and he’s photographed with the president of the United States! Talk about hiding in plain sight.
“I’ve been in law enforcement for nearly 30 years, and I’ve had some pretty odd cases, but nothing as bizarre as this.”
Cody, 65, is now in jail in Cleveland, Ohio, on charges of defrauding donors in 41 states through a bogus Florida charity, the U.S. Navy Veteran’s Association. Instead of using the millions he raised to support the vets and their families, authorities say Cody lined his own pockets. Meanwhile, he hobnobbed with President Bush as well as other notables including Sen. John McCain, House Speaker John Boehner and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The scam was finally exposed by “The Tampa Bay Times” in 2010, when the paper reported that out of 85 officers listed on the charity, only ONE of them was a real person! But before authorities could arrest Cody, who had been using the name Bobby Thompson, he disappeared.
He was finally apprehended in April in Portland, Ore., where he was renting a room in a boarding house while posing as a Canadian Mountie.
Incredibly, investigators found a copy of “Catch Me If You Can,” Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie about a scam artist, among Cody’s few possessions, as well as nearly $1 million cash in a suitcase at a nearby storage unit.
But Cody continued to be something of a mystery to authorities, even after his arrest. He would only sign his name as “Mr. X,” and his fingerprints didn’t return a match from the law enforcement database. But his distinctive pompadour hairstyle gave him away!
Acting on a whim in September, Elliott Googled the name “Bobby Thompson” and up popped photos of “Thompson” in Washington bearing a pompadour. Elliott then found a photo the FBI had released of Cody in 1985 – with a pompadour – and another taken of him with a pompadour in 1969 while he was in the Army.
“That pompadour hairstyle gave him away,” Elliott told The ENQUIRER.
After obtaining Cody’s fingerprints from the military, Elliott found they matched those of Bobby Thompson – and the mystery was solved.
“We love to nab guys like him because they think they’re never going to be caught,” added Elliott. “But he challenged us.”