David Duke's cosmetic surgery-enhanced charisma not only won him votes in his runs for political office, but also hundreds of thousands of dollars from supporters.
Charisma, though, may be the only thing Duke's backers got for their donations — the former Klansman allegedly blew their money at craps.
In November, federal agents searched the long-time white supremacist's suburban New Orleans home for evidence that he had defrauded supporters and channeled political funds to his own personal use in a series of complex financial transactions.
In the seven-hour search, investigators collected 22 boxes of evidence including casino chips, tax records, statements from Duke's many bank accounts, 30 credit cards and a stolen gun.
One informant told the FBI that Duke and his staff were laughing while they devised phony pretexts for mass-mail solicitations netting hundreds of thousands of dollars, court documents show. Duke allegedly lost much of the money raised at several casinos, where pit bosses considered him a "high roller."
At press time, charges had not been filed in the continuing investigation, which Duke called groundless and politically motivated.
Duke was in Russia at the time of the federal raid, promoting his new racist book The Ultimate Supremacism: An Examination of the Jewish Question in Russia and Elsewhere in Europe.
In addition to developing his newest white supremacist group, the National Organization for European American Rights (see 'Blood on the Border' and Anti-Immigration Groups), Duke has been cultivating far right contacts in Europe in the last year or so. He says he is concentrating on Russia because Moscow is the "whitest" of all of the European capitals.