Aventura resident, Gary S. Kraser has pled guilty to fraudulently soliciting charitable donations supposedly intended for Hurricane Katrina relief.
According to the indictment, Kraser falsely claimed via the blog AirKatrina.com, that he was piloting flights to Louisiana to provide medical supplies to the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina and to evacuate children and others in critical medical condition. Kraser further claimed that he had organized a group of Florida pilots to assist him in his supposed relief efforts.
In one fraudulent blog post, Kraser pretended to have returned from Louisiana, and wrote
“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 am crying as I read this . . I saw people on their roofs, that had used axes more than likely to cut through the roof, waving at us, as they thought we were Air Rescue . . . 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. . .”
In another fraudulent post Kraser wrote:
“I’m flying full loads out, and offering the empty plane on the outbound for Air Ambulance. 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 . . .”
The blog allowed for donations to be made directly into Kraser’s PayPal account. In just two days, Kraser received almost $40,000 in donations from 48 different victims from around the world.
Sentencing is been scheduled for April 13, 2006. We’ll keep you posted..
Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.