Mystery Man Who Ran $100M Charity Scam Won’t Reveal Identity
(WASHINGTON) -- The man accused of using a fake identity to set up a bogus Navy Veterans charity (and then pocket millions in donations) has been captured, but authorities still have no idea who he is.
In interviews with investigators, the fugitive who was captured in Portland, Oregon this week has refused to answer questions. His fingerprints yielded no matches. And when handed documents to sign, he scrawls only "X," according to U.S. Marshal Peter Elliott.
"He's not giving up anything," Elliott said. "Nothing. Nada."
As detailed in an ABC News investigation, the mustachioed man was charged in Ohio in 2010 on counts of identity theft, fraud, and money laundering in connection with a bogus charity called the U.S. Navy Veterans Association that raised more than $100 million from unsuspecting donors around the country.
As questions began to swirl about the charity, Thompson abandoned his residence in Florida. He was spotted in a New York City hotel lobby and then he vanished. Over the next two years, authorities believe he lived in Arizona, New Mexico, and near Boston. After a two year manhunt, the U.S. Marshals caught up with him outside a Portland bar. His moustache was gone, he walked with a cane, and was carrying a backpack filled with cash.
When Marshals were handcuffing him, he told them: "It's my right under the U.S. Constitution not to make any statements." Those are the last words he has spoken, Elliott said.
While they have few clues about his identity, investigators say, there are some details emerging about his life on the run. Late Tuesday, when they opened the locker, U.S. Marshals say they found two suitcases filled with $1 million in cash, as well as birth certificates, lists of social security numbers and other public records that authorities believe were intended to help Thompson manufacture new identities.
"It appears he's had numerous names," Elliott said.
The man rented the storage locker in December under the name Alan Lacey.
The same name was on a fake Canadian resident alien card that the fugitive had on him at the time of his capture, according Elliott, who headed a three-member fugitive task force that spent years on the case.
Investigators also now believe he attempted to start another charity while in the Boston area, called the Plymouth Rock Society of Christian Pilgrims. Elliott said investigators believe that when a story about the man known as Thompson appeared on America's Most Wanted, he fled Boston and moved to Portland.
Since his capture, Thompson has been held in the Multnomah County Jail where he is awaiting extradition to Northern Ohio, a move that is expected to occur in the next 72 hours.
Anyone with information regarding "Thompson's" identity is encouraged to contact the U.S. Marshals Service for the Northern District of Ohio at: 1-866-4-WANTED or text keyword WANTED and the tip to 847411 (tip411). Tipsters may remain anonymous and a cash reward may be available.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio