The Ohio Attorney General’s office announced today that Blanca Contreras, an associate of the alleged charity scammer and GOP donor known as “Bobby Thompson,” had been arraigned after being extradited from North Carolina. She pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering, money laundering, and aggravated theft. Bond was set at $2 million.
Contreras served as the acting treasurer for U.S. Navy Veterans Association, a fraudulent charity that Thompson allegedly operated from 2003 to 2010.
[TPM Gallery: Bobby Thompson And Friends]
According to Richard Cordray, the Ohio AG, USNVA took in “up to one hundred million dollars nationally over the past eight years.” Cordray says bank records show that Contreras personally withdrew at least $416,000 of that money in cash from one account.
Thompson, for his part, allegedly pocketed 90 percent of the money USNVA raised. He used some of it to make large donations to GOP candidates, including $55,000 to Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli, $21,500 to Minnesota Senate candidate Norm Coleman, and $10,000 to Rep. Michele Bachmann. (There’s no evidence that any of the recipients of the donations knew the charity was a scam.)
In addition, he allegedly wrote at least 11 money orders using the names of people who don’t exist to donate to other conservative politicians, including Florida AG Bill McCollum and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. His many political contributions afforded him the opportunity to get his picture taken with Giuliani, former President George W. Bush, Sen. John McCain, and House Minority Leader John Boehner at various GOP fundraisers.