COLUMBIA, S.C. – Former Potter County resident and once Aryan Nation leader August Kreis, III, has been sentenced on charges of fraud.
Kreis, who pleaded guilty to fraud in August of this year, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Columbia, S.C.
Charges stemmed from an investigation launched by the FBI into Kreis’s personal life, after a 2005 CNN interview in which he compared the goals of his organization with that of al-Qaeda’s; that being a mutual enemy – Jews and the American government.
At the time Kreis told CNN, “You say they’re terrorists, I say they’re freedom fighters. And I want to instill the same Jihadic feeling in our peoples’ heart, in the Aryan race, that they have for their Father, who they call Allah.”
The FBI did not find his statements to be criminal, nor did they determine he had any links to al-Qaeda, but they did discover that Kreis had been accepting need-based pension for military service without reporting thousands of dollars in income.
Kreis was eligible for the pension because of a 9-month stint in the Navy during the Vietnam Conflict. He was later discharged from service for not being “fit to serve”.
Prosecutors said Kreis received $14,000 for a house sale in 2005, a $7,500 court settlement after a dog bit his 3-year-old daughter, money from ebay sales, two gun sales, and donations from his mother-in-law and Aryan Nation contributors, totaling $192,837 since 2003.
Kreis has often been vilified for living off the very government which he criticizes. Upon his departure from Potter County many had dubbed the white surpremacist as “The Welfare Nazi”, as Kreis had been on foodstamps during his residence in the county. Kreis was quoted in The Potter Leader Enterprise at the time saying, “This county has been called Potter County: God’s Country – I have a new name for it – Potter County: A Cure for Racism!”
Despite Kreis’s current and possible future legal problems, the Aryan Nations organization says they will continue to support him.
Kreis was sentenced to time-served for 6 months already spent in jail, in addition to 6 months of house arrest and 2 years of probation. He was also ordered to pay back nearly $193,000 in money prosecutors say he illegally received.