White Separatist Sentenced in VA Pension Case
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 15, 2011|
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated that August Byron Kreis III, age 57, formerly of Lexington County, South Carolina, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court as a result of his prior guilty plea to submitting a pension eligibility report to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs that falsely claimed that he had no income, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. Kreis has been in federal custody for over six months as a result of the charges to which he pleaded guilty. United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr., sentenced Kreis to a sentence of time served to be followed by home detention for six months. Additionally, Kreis must repay $192,837 to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
Facts presented during the guilty plea and an earlier bond hearing established that Kreis was receiving an “Improved Pension” as a result of his nine-month service in the United States Navy. Despite his brief service and discharge based on a determination that he was not suited for military service, Kreis qualified for this pension because he served during war time. The Improved Pension is based on need, and all recipients are required to report all income from any source. The VA then reduces pension benefits on a dollar-for-dollar basis for any qualifying income. It also uses reported income to determine continued eligibility.
During an interview that was broadcast on national television, Kreis stated that he and members of his movement desired to join al Qaeda in its jihad against the United States government. Actions in material support of enemies of the government are criminal, and federal law enforcement investigated whether Kreis was acting on these statements or providing support to al Qaeda.
Financial records from Kreis’ bank accounts were obtained and analyzed. They did not show support for the enemy, but they did reveal that he had substantial unreported funds going into his bank accounts. During 2005, for example, Kreis received approximately $33,669 from sources other than the VA, and he failed to report any of the money. Furthermore, in an eligibility report that he submitted to the VA on August 29, 2006, Kreis stated that during 2005, he had no income from any source. This false report formed the basis for the crime for which Kreis was sentenced.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Dean A. Eichelberger is handling the case.