Dinn, Hochman & Potter, LLC

$100 million charity fraud trial

A trial has begun in an Ohio courtroom in which the defendant has been charged by the state of conducting a $100 million multistate charity fraud. The state alleges that the defendant defrauded donors to the United States Navy Veterans Association. The defendant's attorney denied the allegations and claimed that his client's activities followed all federal tax regulations related to charities.

The prosecution alleges that Thompson was responsible for disappearing with nearly $3 million donated to the charity by Ohio donors, shifting money among several accounts from which he paid a small staff and fundraising costs with the rest going to the defendant though checks made out to him or via ATM withdrawals.

The defense attorney told jurors that the prosecution lacked sufficient evidence of the charges. In addition, he hinted to the jury that Thompson's defense might claim that he had been involved in a covert government project. The defense also mapped out the structure of the charity and claimed that all political contributions it had made had been above board. However, a retired Tampa Bay Times reporter who had written stories to help uncover the fraud said that he could not get in touch with anyone named by the charity as being responsible for auditing its finances. The reporter also uncovered the fact that Thompson was not a retired Navy commander as he originally claimed, but instead had been a captain in the Army and Army Reserve before leaving the service after twice being denied of a promotion.

Those who operate businesses or charities may find themselves involved in legal disputes. An attorney with experience in business litigation may be able to help by examining the case and possibly uncovering useful information in order to resolve the issue.

Source: Independent Record, "Ohio opens case in $100M charity fraud trial", Thomas J. Sheeran, October 07, 2013

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