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Investigators Release Images of Suspected Navy Vets Con Man

Office of the Ohio Attorney General(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Investigators have released the last known images of suspected con man Bobby Thompson, who authorities say conned donors out of more than $100 million for a fake charity for Navy veterans before vanishing.

The mustachioed man, who authorities say operated under Thompson as an alias while he carried out his alleged eight-year con, was last spotted by security cameras on June 16, 2010, apparently withdrawing money from an ATM in New York City.  Thompson had been fingered three months earlier as the man behind the apparently non-existant Navy Veterans Association in a St. Petersburg Times expose.

The man known as Thompson faces charges in Ohio for identity theft, corruption and money laundering, but just over a year after the story broke, authorities still do not know his real name or whereabouts.  A spokesperson for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose office is leading the investigation, told ABC News Tuesday they haven't given up their chase.

The ATM images first appeared on America's Most Wanted and show Thompson sporting jean shorts and construction boots with a hat and sunglasses covering much of his face.

Thompson raised money for the phony charity mostly through phone solicitations, telling potential donors the money was needed to assist needy veterans, according to investigators.

Federal election records show he invested some of the money -- more than $200,000 -- in campaign contributions to top Republican politicians, including former President George W. Bush, U.S. Sen. John McCain, and the incoming Speaker of the House, John Boehner.

In exchange, he received grip-and-grin snapshots with American political leaders -- the sort of photo that may be commonplace on office walls in Washington, D.C., but looked to outsiders like evidence of an important man with heavy-duty connections.

In early August, then Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray announced an arrest warrant for Thompson, who remains a fugitive.

Darryl Rouson, a Florida legislator, initially helped represent the man he thought was Bobby Thompson after he first came under fire.

"He seemed to be a knowledgeable man about politics and community affairs," Rouson told ABC News in November.  "He was engaging, jovial.  I had no reason to suspect he was anything other than who he said he was."

DeWine, a former U.S. Senator, was one of many Republicans who took donations from Thompson.  In November, he said he would pursue the case with the same vigor as his Democratic predecessor, Cordray.

He conceded in an interview with ABC News then that the business of political fundraising is not always as intimate as people believe -- that candidates raise most of their money from people who are, essentially, total strangers.

"Some people who give you money, you just don't know them," DeWine said.  "You don't know who they are.  You're talking about thousands of people, you don't have a clue who they are.  It can be pretty hard to sort all that out.  You've got to try." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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