Call Me Commander

Call Me Commander

A Former Intelligence Officer and the Journalists Who Uncovered His Scheme to Fleece America

Jeff Testerman, Daniel M Freed

Call Me Commander examines how John Donald Cody was able to swindle tens of millions of dollars in donations from the largest fraudulent nonprofits for veterans in history.
Publication date:
February 2021
Publisher :
Potomac Books, Inc.
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781640123045

Dimensions : 229 X 152 mm
Not Yet Published. Available for PreOrder.


• Breaks new ground with unmatched reporting about two parts of Cody's story
• It shows the secrets of exactly how the Commander pulled off the mother-of-all charity crimes
• While Testerman's earlier newspaper reporting showed what the Commander wasn't, Freed's new reporting - which will appear for the first time in this book - reveals what he was. Through the money he made with his last - and greatest - charity scam, he was able to buy his way into the halls of power and make his man-of-mystery fantasy a reality
• Among potential endorsers for Life is Argument are Buzz Bissinger (Friday Night Lights), Robin Sloan, (Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore), Renato Marriotti - (former federal prosecutor and cable news criminal justice commentator) and Jon Mooalem (New York Times Magazine writer and author of Wild Ones).    

On a research assignment in 2009, St. Petersburg Times investigative reporter Jeff Testerman visited the rundown Tampa duplex of a man who called himself Commander Bobby Thompson. With his ragged clothes and ponytail, Thompson didn't exactly have the spit and polish one would expect from a retired U.S. Navy commander, which is how he described himself on the US Navy Veterans Association website. The Navy Vets nonprofit, set up by Thompson with the help of some politically connected lawyers, turned out to be a nationwide network of phony veteran charities that brought in tens of millions of dollars. After Testerman's story revealed the nonprofit was a sham, the Commander, whose name was actually stolen from a Choctaw Indian from Mississippi, went on the run. The U.S. marshals initiated a man hunt for Thompson in 2011 and found themselves searching for what they called a real-life Jason Bourne, an expert at changing identities. Thompson was carrying three wallets with different identities in each when they located him in Portland in 2012. He refused to tell them who he really was. Eventually, the head marshal in Cleveland discovered he was John Donald Cody, a Harvard Law School graduate and former Army intelligence officer who had been on the run since 1984. From behind bars, Cody claimed his charity was, in fact, a CIA money laundering operation. Daniel Freed reported on the story for CNBC's American Greed in 2014 and teamed up with Testerman to write Call Me Commander. Using sham patriotism in the post 9/11 era, the Bernard Madoff of charity fraud pulled the wool over the eyes of the nation for years. And when the curtain finally came down, what remained was a confounding mystery that has gone unsolved. Until now.