American Legion Post 568 in Minooka, Pennsylvania took in Christopher Crawford with open arms. They had no idea what would happen next.
Crawford turned out to not only be a thief, but was falsely representing himself as an Iraq war veteran who had been injured while deployed overseas, police say.
While in the role of the Legion's executive officer in charge of membership and recruiting, he used the post's debit card to rack up $16,701.15 in fraudulent charges, the Times Tribune reported. The charges were racked up by Crawford in bars, restaurants, and casinos from New Jersey to Florida.
Not only that but when the fraudulent charges came to light, it also turned out that Crawford was not really a war veteran. Rather, he had gone AWOL during Army basic training in 2007 and had an other than honorable discharge.
Back in February, Lackawanna County Judge Vito Geroulo found Crawford guilty of numerous charges including fraud, theft, and misrepresenting himself as a veteran. This week, Judge Geroulo sentenced Crawford to up to 12 years in prison and no fewer than six to be followed by four years of probation.
"The offense was particularly egregious because he targeted veterans, stole their money and stole their valor," said prosecuting attorney Mark Powell.