August Byron Kreis III
November 2, 1954
|Occupation||Former Director of Aryan Nations|
|Part of the Politics and elections and Politics series on|
August Byron Kreis III (born November 2, 1954) is an American former neo-Nazi leader and a convicted child molester. Kreis has been a member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), the Posse Comitatus, and the Aryan Nations.
Before joining racist groups, Kreis dropped out of a Newark, New Jersey high school. It was during his high school days that he became interested and active in the white supremacist movement. He served in the U.S. Navy for nine months, but was discharged early "based on a determination that he was not suited for military service." He then spent 13 years as a member of the KKK and eventually became a Klan leader. He joined the Posse Comitatus in the late 1980s.
In 1994 and 1995 Kreis and his two daughters appeared on The Jerry Springer Show. On one episode show host Jerry Springer kicked Kreis off his show after he made threats and suggested that Springer's mother was a lampshade in the trunk of Kreis' car.
In 1999 Kreis joined the Aryan Nations. After the death of Aryan Nations leader Richard Girnt Butler, in a power struggle, Kreis assumed leadership positions within the Aryan Nations, which caused a split within the organization.
Kreis was locally known for harassing neighbors and townspeople with whom he disagreed. Police lodged numerous charges against him, but he was never convicted of any of them. After a divorce from his first wife, he was barred from contacting her.
In 2005 he received media attention by seeking an Aryan Nations-al Qaeda alliance. CNN reported that "So while August Kreis may be calling, there is no sign that al Qaeda is listening." His statements raised federal concerns about violations of the law which caused the government to look closely at his activities and finances. The federal government concluded that he had no link with any terrorist organization. The government, however, in the process discovered “substantial unreported funds” going into his bank accounts with more than $33,000 in unreported income in 2005.
Although Kreis only spent a short time in the Navy, he served during wartime and as a result, he received an “improved pension” based on financial need, which is adjusted based on income. In 2009, he moved from Potter County, Pennsylvania to Lexington, South Carolina, near Columbia, South Carolina.
In June 2011, Kreis was arrested in Obion County, Tennessee on "felony charges for filing fraudulent statements in an effort to obtain veterans benefits." According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, "The indictment alleges that Kreis provided false information about whether he had any income in reports that he submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs." He had refused to surrender when the charges were filed. He was held in a federal detention center.
In August 2011, he pleaded guilty to lying to Veterans Administration officials in order to get pension money which he was not entitled to receive, and he faced a possible sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. In December 2011, he was sentenced to six months in jail. He ultimately served six months of home arrest followed by two years of probation and was required to pay back the nearly $193,000 of improperly received benefits.
In early 2012, he quit the Aryan Nations while he was in prison, passing leadership of the organization to Drew Bostwick.
On November 5, 2015, a Lexington County, South Carolina judge sentenced Kreis to 50 years in prison for child molestation. After a three-day trial, a Lexington County jury found Kreis, age 61, guilty of one count of criminal sexual conduct involving a minor child and two counts of committing lewd acts on a child. Kreis was sentenced to serve two 15-year sentences and one 20-year sentence, all to run consecutively. During his sentencing, he held up a sign urging people to vote for Donald Trump for president. This prompted the attorney for Kreis to ask for a mistrial, but the judge rejected the request and instead instructed the jury to focus on the evidence.
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- "'The Last Outpost'". Southern Poverty Law Center. Spring 2001. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
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- "Racist Kids," The Jerry Springer Show, 4 Feb. 1993 and "A Racist Family", The Jerry Springer Show, 20 Feb. 1991
- "Posse leader joins Aryan World Congress," Spokane Spokesman-Review July 15, 2000
- "An unholy alliance: Aryan Nation leader reaches out to al Qaeda". CNN. 2005-03-29. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
- "White supremacist pleads guilty to Navy pension fraud". The State. Aug 23, 2011. Archived from the original on September 10, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- "Profiles: August Kreis". Southern Poverty Law Center. 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- "Federal grand jury indicts Lexington County offenders on fraud". Lexington Chronicle. May 31, 2011. Archived from the original on August 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- "Racist Leader, Refusing to Surrender Tomorrow, Faces Arrest for Fraud". Southern Poverty Law Center. May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- "Aryan Nations leader gets fraud sentence in SC". The Sumter Daily Item. December 14, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-15.[permanent dead link]
- "Aryan Nations leader sentenced for fraud in SC". Associated Press. December 13, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
- "From The Desk Of The AN Administration". Aryan Nations. 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
- "Racist Leader August Kreis Arrested for Sexual Abuse of Children". splcenter.org. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
- "Former Aryan Nations Leader Gets 50 Years for Child Rape". splcenter.org. Nov 6, 2015. Archived from the original on Nov 17, 2015. Retrieved 2019-07-30.
- "Judge gives Lexington County neo-Nazi 50 years for child molestation". thestate.com. Nov 5, 2015. Archived from the original on Nov 7, 2015. Retrieved 2019-07-30.
- Kreis faction of Aryan Nations website
- White Supremacist Pleads Guilty in Veterans Affairs Pension Case, FBI Press Release
- Anti-Defamation League listing for Aryan Nations
- Southern Poverty Law Center article
- Anti-Defamation League article on Aryan Nations and the Internet
- Morlin, Bill (October 2, 2001), "Butler chooses Aryan successor", The Spokesman-Review