Self-proclaimed white supremacist August Kreis III, 56, pleaded guilty Tuesday to lying to Veterans Administration officials to get pension money he was not entitled to, prosecutors said.
He could face five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 the U.S. Attorneys office in South Carolina said in a statement.
Kreis, a onetime resident of Lexington County, served for nine months in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Despite the short time of service and early discharge, Kreis was receiving whats called an improved pension because of demonstrated need and because he served during wartime. A condition of the augmented pension program requires recipients to report all outside income.
Because of widely publicized comments made after the 9-11 attacks that he and his followers wished to join Al-Queda in its jihad against the U.S. government, he came under the scrutiny of federal law enforcement.
Mr. Kreis has the first amendment right to make whatever statements he wants, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Eilchelberger said. But its also fair to say that Kreis statements raised concerns about violations of federal law which resulted in increased scrutiny and a financial review, he added.