Scam suspect relents, gets lawyer in Ohio court

THOMAS J. SHEERAN Associated Press Published:

CLEVELAND (AP) -- A former fugitive charged with identity theft and running a $100 million scam collecting donations for veterans has tried a new role, representing himself in court in Ohio.

But the defendant, who goes by the name Bobby Thompson, balked at lawyering Thursday and changed his mind repeatedly before agreeing to accept a court-appointed attorney in Cleveland.

Authorities don't think Thompson is his real name but have been unable to identify him.

He told the judge he isn't an attorney but wouldn't say if he has law school background because that relates to the issue of identity theft.

Authorities believe he defrauded donors of up to $100 million in 41 states, including in Ohio. A fraction of the money has been found.

He was arrested last week in Portland, Ore.

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