Man charged in Katrina Web scam
Last modified: October 3, 2005, 3:55 PM PDT
By Alorie Gilbert
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
A Florida man who collected nearly $40,000 over the Web for Hurricane Katrina humanitarian relief was indicted on fraud charges Monday.
According to the indictment, Florida resident Gary Kraser allegedly used e-mail and the Web site AirKatrina.com to dupe nearly 50 people out of their money over a two-day period. He claimed to be flying medical supplies to Louisiana and helping to evacuate children and sick people in his plane, the indictment said.
Kraser is the first person that the United States has charged with Internet fraud linked to Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. Internet security experts have warned of numerous online scams designed to exploit charitable giving in the aftermath of the catastrophe.
In its statement, the agency alleged that Kraser had fabricated detailed accounts of rescue missions, including the following message from Aug. 30:
"I am shaking as I write this, as I just arrived home, and just now allowed my body and mind to accept what I saw tonight...I saw dogs wrapped in electrical lines still alive and sparks flying from their bodies being electrocuted, as well as some people dead already. If I had a helicopter, I would be there now rather than back in FL...I'm so sorry I couldn't do more...I'm crying and hugging my dog next to me now...I will hear these screams for the rest of my life."
The following day, Kraser claimed to have rescued a baby. "If we didn't have the plane, I don't think the little baby would have survived...She is undergoing transplant surgery at this moment I am writing...7 mos old, and smiling the whole way, as if she knew."
Kraser said he had personally funded the relief flights and asked for donations to purchase the fuel. Kraser collected victims' money through a PayPal account as well as via wire transfers directly to his bank account, according to the indictment.
PayPal, the online payment subsidiary of eBay, was quick to cooperate with the investigation, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Kraser stands charged with four counts of wire fraud, the agency said. His arrest was led by R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael Clemens, an FBI special agent.
Kraser could not be reached for comment on Monday.
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Thread: Man charged in Katrina Web scam
10-09-2005, 01:02 PM #1
- Join Date
- May 2002
- Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
Man charged in Katrina Web scamSeptember 11th - Never Forget
I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.
IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
RAY WAS HERE FIRST
10-09-2005, 01:09 PM #2
Excellent work on the agecenies who caught this scum bag. Hope he gets the max. when he faces the judge and jury.A "Good" fire is not measured by how big it is, but by the fact that everyone is going home safe, and that we possibly learned something new about firefighting. Member:IACOJ
10-14-2005, 07:19 PM #3
Somewhat related. In West Cape May, NJ a man was recently arrested for stealing a donation jar for katrina vic.s from a 7-11. Bad enough the guy did it but to add to the stupid file he was a regular costumer, he came back several hours after he lifted the jar and the owner called the pd and he was locked up. It is all on tape so little chance of not pleading guilty. The local judge is a hardnose so he will get his.
10-14-2005, 10:51 PM #4
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
Wow thats terrible-a regular customer
Last edited by career1962; 10-14-2005 at 10:54 PM.
10-15-2005, 04:32 PM #5
I won't bring down this post, however anyone who wants to see career1962 in action come visit over on the career forums. You can see what he is realy about.
Last edited by MEck51; 10-15-2005 at 05:18 PM.
10-15-2005, 10:20 PM #6
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
Hey just laughing at your very funny joke- no need to attack me- I thought your joke was funny
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