Master of Deceit is the story behind the man responsible for one of the largest scams against American veterans in history, which, oddly, is not his worst offense.
John Donald Cody used proceeds from this fraud to bankroll politicians instead of helping veterans. Ultimately, he became so well known in political circles that he received an invitation to the White House. Yet no one – not even the U.S. Secret Service – noticed Thompson was using a stolen ID. If they had, they would have realized Cody was wanted for more consequential offenses and why his time in the Oval Office is one of the most significant breaches in White House history.
Master of Deceit takes readers through the meanderings of Cody’s decades on the run, his capture, and the startling revelation that perhaps some federal officials never wanted him caught.
Cody grew up in New Jersey and had a career full of promise after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1972. His military career was limited to Army Military Intelligence, and was so clandestine, that records simply show Cody was assigned to an unnamed “proponent agency” and given top secret clearance. But after 13 years in intelligence, Cody snapped and disappeared.
When he resurfaced, he began a series of scams that would last more than 25 years. His most notable crimes were those he committed using the alias Lieutenant Commander Bobby Thompson — the face of a military and veterans’ support group, the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. The charity had been approved to solicit in 41 states without anyone noticing that it had no real offices, and only fake members and directors on their board. The association collected more than $100 million before the ruse was discovered by a reporter in St. Petersburg, Fla.
It would take years for a special task force to unravel enough of the mystery to track Thompson down. When they discovered his real identity, his entrance into the White House became significantly more surprising. For many of the years he claimed to be Thompson – including while he was in the White House – Cody was being hunted by the FBI. A wanted poster shows Cody was sought for questioning about espionage, though the FBI never said why.Early reviews have called Master of Deceit “compelling” and “fast-paced” book that “reads more like a novel.” The true crime was extensively researched, contains exclusive interviews from Cody while in prison and offers insights into why some government officials may not have wanted him caught.
“The author spent many years researching for this book and it shows in the myriad of details concerning the case. It reads more like a novel than a documentary.”
Jerry W. – Amazon Review
“This is a strange tale, almost unbelievable. I’m recommending it. I see the movie version with the story of the journalist uncovering threads in the story as one plot line, and the actual Cody/Thompson story the other plot line, intertwined,”
J Wrightnour – Amazon Review
“Such a fascinating story and so well written. So carefully crafted to not be political, but factual. Just amazing how one man could think of all these crimes… or was it just one man?”
Dom, Amazon Review
“Great read….highly recommended.”
Whitney, Amazon Review
“So shocking that one person could scam so many people over so many years! Book was written in an easy way to follow this wild and tangled tale!”
Emily K. – Amazon Review
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