Arrested in Germany, David Duke Begs Followers for Money
Yet despite the ease with which he avoided punishment for his Prague adventure, his newest plea for help should come as no surprise - for Duke is a veteran scam artist with a long history of persuading supporters to send him a buck. In 2002, he pleaded guilty to tax evasion and mail fraud for ripping off hundreds of thousands of dollars from white supremacist donors who thought they were helping save the white race - money that actually went to finance Duke’s gambling habit. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison and fined $10,000.
That was just the splashiest case. In the late 1970s, Duke lost the support of many comrades after he allegedly stole money from the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, (the “kinder, gentler” Klan group he founded in 1975) and used it to refurbish his Louisiana home. In 1987, facing charges of reckless conduct after engaging in a shouting match with a black man, he raised at least $8,000 from backers who mistakenly believed they were helping 62 other white supremacists. He ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was fined $55. In 1995, the state of Louisiana fined him $1,111 for using illegal fundraising techniques during his unsuccessful run for governor four years earlier.
In 2000, even after federal authorities raided his home and carted away nearly two dozen boxes of papers, computer discs, credit card records and other documents - material that would be used to put him away three years later - Duke insisted on his innocence. “[T]his probe is nothing more than a political assassination on the part of government officials who are seeking to silence my voice on our European heritage and rights,” he wrote from his temporary home in Russia, where he was far beyond the reach of U.S. authorities.